Johanns offers optimism for ranchers

The blizzard disaster in northwest Nebraska and western South Dakota highlights the need for a Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill expired and with the government shutdown, cattlemen are worried they may not have any government protection . US Senator Mike Johanns is aware of the situation and believes there are ways the government can help these ranchers recover from this disaster.

Johanns says "There are some really good risk management programs like the Livestock Indemnity Program in the Farm Bill. We often think about the Farm Bill and a whole host of issues that we want to see handled through Farm Bill. We often don't talk about this livestock piece, because it never arises unless there is something like this that happens where you have livestock loss".

Johanns says Congress needs to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the legislation. He believes Congress is doing some things that are heading in the right direction.

The former US Ag Secretary says "this may not be a crisis like the debt ceiling presents, but by the end of the year then we will start to see some problems, because the you go back back to 1949 legislation (permanent law), which just doesn't work".

Last week the Senate named conferees to work with the House of Representatives. He is hoping the differences can be worked out. Getting the Farm Bill done could give producers in northwest Nebraska and western South Dakota more certainty in these very difficult times.

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