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Rep. Jackson Introduces Legislation to Help Texas Cattle Ranchers Recover from Wildfires

WASHINGTON, DC — Yesterday, Congressman Ronny Jackson (TX-13) and Senator Ted Cruz (TX) introduced the Livestock Indemnity Program Enhancement Act to help Texas livestock producers recover from the devastating wildfires that occurred in the Texas Panhandle earlier this year. This bill would require the United States Department of Agriculture to establish an additional payment rate through the Livestock Indemnity Program for excessive unborn livestock death losses due to gestating livestock losses. The recent wildfires in the Texas Panhandle caused over 7,000 cattle losses, not including unborn calves, destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of ranchers and livestock producers in Texas’ Thirteenth Congressional District.

Jackson said: “While the Livestock Indemnity Program will assist affected livestock producers with cattle losses due to the wildfires, their recovery has been set back several years due to the limitations on the program’s ability to compensate for unborn livestock losses from the loss of pregnant livestock. By creating a payment rate for unborn livestock losses, we can better assist our producers, helping them recover quicker and mitigating the long-term effects of these wildfires. I am proud to lead this effort to strengthen the farm safety net for our cattlemen. Thank you, Senator Cruz, for working with me on this issue to ensure the cattle industry in Texas thrives for generations to come.” 

Cruz said: "Texas ranchers are the backbone of the Texas agriculture industry. After wildfires engulfed the Panhandle earlier this year, at least 7,000 cattle perished, many of them bred cattle or cattle that had recently calved. These fires devastated Texas ranchers, who are now struggling to rebuild. I am proud to introduce legislation to strengthen the Livestock Indemnity Program. This program establishes an additional payment rate for eligible producers who lost unborn livestock. This will give Texas cattle producers the relief they need to build back their herds and restore this pillar of Texas agriculture.”

Russell Boening, President of Texas Farm Bureau said: “As Texas farmers and ranchers continue working to recover from devastating wildfires, it is critical to provide as much assistance and flexibility as possible to help them get back on their feet. We thank Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressman Ronny Jackson for introducing the ‘Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) Enhancement Act’ to compensate ranchers who lost unborn calves due the wildfires. Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) appreciates leaders like Sen. Cruz and Congressman Jackson who recognize challenges and promptly act on solutions to help our hardworking cattlemen and women during times of need.”

Allison Rivera, Director of Government Affairs at NCBA said: "Due to recent devastating wildfires, many cattle producers have suffered livestock losses, including the loss of unborn calves. Current federal law fails to compensate producers for unborn calves, but this legislation would change that thanks to Sen. Cruz and Rep. Ronny Jackson’s bill to provide an additional payment rate for unborn calves as part of the Livestock Indemnity Program. America’s cattlemen and women are thankful for Rep. Jackson’s efforts to support the cattle industry.”

Carl Ray Polk, Jr., TSCRA President said: "The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) is a helpful resource for ranchers recovering from natural disasters, but its effectiveness is limited by a gap in the program. The LIP fails to compensate ranchers for the loss of their calf crop. In the Texas Panhandle, the devastating effects of this gap are particularly glaring in the wake of the recent wildfires. Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) thanks Congressman Jackson and Senator Cruz for addressing this gap in the LIP Enhancement Act. This legislation will help the LIP better reflect the true losses faced by ranchers and shorten the time needed to recover from devastating events like wildfires." 

The full bill text can be found here. This legislation is supported by American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Texas Farm Bureau, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raiser’s Association.