Part of what I do in creating content for this blog is use information that comes to me from the USDA in the form of press releases and other notices. I read through all of it and some of it shows up here. Sometimes I add or delete information to make it more Ohio-centric. A recent release came out regarding Hurricane Sandy. The gist was that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack was reminding farmers and foresters about all that they should document after a severe weather event or other property-damaging disaster. Then, there was this at the end:
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack also reminds producers that the department’s authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2011. This includes SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.
Yet another reminder of how Congress has left farmers, ranchers, fishers and foresters in the lurch without a Farm Bill. Secretary Vilsack goes on to promise to keep the pressure on the crop insurance industry to provide more flexibility for producers. That’s commendable, but there’s only so much the Secretary of Agriculture can do without all of his legal authority at hand. He would have that authority if Congress were to finish the job after the election.