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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 29, 2017.
This bill amends the Agricultural Act of 2014 to modify two Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs: (1) the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), and (2) the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).
(The LFP makes payments to eligible livestock producers who have suffered certain grazing losses due to a drought or a fire. The LIP provides payments to eligible livestock producers on farms that incurred livestock deaths in excess of the normal mortality due to adverse weather or attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law.)
The bill modifies the LIP to specify that livestock death losses due to disease in livestock that has been exacerbated by adverse weather are eligible for payments if a licensed veterinarian verifies that the adverse weather created conditions contributing to the livestock death. USDA must determine eligibility for the payments without regard to any management practice, vaccine protocol, or lack of vaccination by the producer relating to the disease.
With respect to the LFP, the bill modifies the payment schedule to: (1) allow a one-month payment when a county reaches the severe drought category for four consecutive weeks (eight weeks under current law), and (2) allow an additional monthly payment when the county reaches eight weeks in the severe drought category.
The bill also amends the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to revise the rules regarding the eligibility of national grasslands for grazing leases and permits.