Thune Requests Immediate Assistance for Producers Affected by Cottonwood Fire

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressThune Requests Immediate Assistance for Producers Affected by Cottonwood Fire

“[P]roducers in this area urgently need timely assistance from USDA due to the devastating feed and livestock losses caused by the Cottonwood Fire, and I strongly urge you to take whatever action necessary to provide assistance to these producers …” 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today wrote to Tom Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), encouraging him to provide immediate disaster assistance to ranchers who have been affected by the Cottonwood Fire. The fire has burned more than 31,000 acres between Wall and Kadoka, a portion of the same area impacted by winter storm Atlas, which claimed more than 44,000 head of cattle just three years ago. Thune’s letter also requests additional assistance to ensure ranchers in the affected area have access to hay that’s been donated as a result of the Conservation Reserve Program’s mid-contract management.

“Once again, the producers in this area urgently need timely assistance from USDA due to the devastating feed and livestock losses caused by the Cottonwood Fire, and I strongly urge you to take whatever action necessary to provide assistance to these producers through FSA disaster assistance programs, including the Livestock Forage Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Conservation Program, and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program,” wrote Thune.

Thune authored the Livestock Forage Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program, all of which were included in the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills. Thune played an integral role in ensuring the Farm Service Agency (FSA) was able to authorize the donation of hay removed from CRP acres due to mid-contract management by inserting key language in the 2014 Farm Bill conference report.

Full text of the letter can be found below: 

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

I write today concerning a devastating wildfire that has burned more than 31,000 acres in Western South Dakota and to date is not fully contained.

The fire started Sunday, October 16, in an area near Interstate 90 between Wall and Kadoka, which was under a National Weather Service Red Flag Warning for low humidity, high winds, and high temperature. Due to high, gusty winds of more than 50 miles per hour, the fire spread quickly across thousands of acres and destroyed hay, fences, winter pastures, livestock, and outbuildings that were in its path. 

The Cottonwood Fire is in the heart of the area that was devastated just three years ago by winter storm Atlas, which killed more than 44,000 head of livestock in Western South Dakota. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) was exceptionally responsive in implementing the livestock disaster programs following winter storm Atlas, and I appreciate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) making livestock disaster program delivery a top priority after passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Once again, the producers in this area urgently need timely assistance from USDA due to the devastating feed and livestock losses caused by the Cottonwood Fire, and I strongly urge you to take whatever action necessary to provide assistance to these producers through FSA disaster assistance programs, including the Livestock Forage Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Conservation Program, and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program.

 In addition, I urge continued coordination between FSA and the South Dakota State Department of Agriculture to ensure ranchers in the Cottonwood Fire area are provided the opportunity to obtain any remaining hay donated as a result of Conservation Reserve Program mid-contract management.

Thank you for your timely consideration of this request. 

Sincerely,

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11 thoughts on “Thune Requests Immediate Assistance for Producers Affected by Cottonwood Fire

  1. Anonymous

    Amazing he says he’s fiscal but can’t find enough money for farmers.strong conservative right when except incomes to ag?Is John going to get the govt to bail out the workers who are losing their pensions in this state.

  2. Anonymous

    This is why it’s hard to be a republican in DC. Cut. But not mine. Everyone of us will have hardships. I don’t have the answer.

  3. Anonymous

    What the hell is wrong with you people. This is what he is supposed to do, help his state when it needs it. Unbelievable!

  4. Anonymous

    I see, if he works to provide assistance to his constituents after a catastrophe he is no longer conservative? What twisted definition of conservative are you using?

  5. Just askin

    Are any of you people posting on this blog post farmers or ranchers? I betcha the same ones that are against farmers and ranchers getting some doors opened for them for extra hay, support the same help for hurricane disasters, et cetera.