Text: S.284 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (01/12/2007)


110th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 284


To provide emergency agricultural disaster assistance.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 12, 2007

Mr. Conrad (for himself, Mr. Hagel, Mr. Salazar, Mr. Nelson of Nebraska, Mr. Thune, Mr. Dorgan, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Coleman, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Tester, Mr. Inouye, Ms. Landrieu, and Ms. Cantwell) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry


A BILL

To provide emergency agricultural disaster assistance.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Emergency Farm Relief Act of 2007”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents of this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Definitions.

Sec. 101. Crop disaster assistance.

Sec. 102. Dairy assistance.

Sec. 103. Livestock assistance.

Sec. 104. Flooded crop and grazing land.

Sec. 105. Sugar beet and sugar cane disaster assistance.

Sec. 106. Noninsured crop assistance program.

Sec. 107. Reduction in payments.

Sec. 201. Small business economic loss grant program.

Sec. 301. Emergency conservation program.

Sec. 302. Emergency watershed protection program.

Sec. 303. Environmental quality incentives program.

Sec. 401. Funding for additional personnel.

Sec. 501. Contract waiver.

Sec. 502. Funding.

Sec. 503. Regulations.

Sec. 601. Emergency designation.

SEC. 2. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) ADDITIONAL COVERAGE.—The term “additional coverage” has the meaning given the term in section 502(b)(1) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1502(b)(1)).

(2) DISASTER COUNTY.—The term “disaster county” means—

(A) a county included in the geographic area covered by a natural disaster declaration; and

(B) each county contiguous to a county described in subparagraph (A).

(3) HURRICANE-AFFECTED COUNTY.—The term “hurricane-affected county” means—

(A) a county included in the geographic area covered by a natural disaster declaration related to Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Wilma, or a related condition; and

(B) each county contiguous to a county described in subparagraph (A).

(4) INSURABLE COMMODITY.—The term “insurable commodity” means an agricultural commodity (excluding livestock) for which the producers on a farm are eligible to obtain a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.).

(5) LIVESTOCK.—The term “livestock” includes—

(A) cattle (including dairy cattle);

(B) bison;

(C) sheep;

(D) swine; and

(E) other livestock, as determined by the Secretary.

(6) NATURAL DISASTER DECLARATION.—The term “natural disaster declaration” means a natural disaster declared by the Secretary during calendar year 2005 or 2006 under section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1961(a)).

(7) NONINSURABLE COMMODITY.—The term “noninsurable commodity” means a crop for which the producers on a farm are eligible to obtain assistance under section 196 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7333).

(8) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Agriculture.

SEC. 101. Crop disaster assistance.

(a) In general.—The Secretary shall use such sums as are necessary of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to make emergency financial assistance authorized under this section available to producers on a farm that have incurred qualifying losses described in subsection (c).

(b) Administration.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary shall make assistance available under this section in the same manner as provided under section 815 of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001 (Public Law 106–387; 114 Stat. 1549A–55), including using the same loss thresholds for quantity and economic losses as were used in administering that section, except that the payment rate shall be 45 percent of the established price, instead of 65 percent.

(2) NONINSURED PRODUCERS.—For producers on a farm that were eligible to acquire crop insurance for the applicable production loss and failed to do so or failed to submit an application for the noninsured assistance program for the loss, the Secretary shall make assistance in accordance with paragraph (1), except that the payment rate shall be 20 percent of the established price, instead of 50 percent.

(c) Qualifying losses.—Assistance under this section shall be made available to producers on farms, other than producers of sugar beets, that incurred qualifying quantity or quality losses for the 2005 or 2006 crop, or both, due to damaging weather or any related condition (including losses due to crop diseases, insects, and delayed harvest), as determined by the Secretary.

(d) Quality losses.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—In addition to any payment received under subsection (b), the Secretary shall use such sums as are necessary of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to make payments to producers on a farm described in subsection (a) that incurred a quality loss for the 2005 or 2006 crop, or both, of a commodity in an amount equal to the product obtained by multiplying—

(A) the payment quantity determined under paragraph (2);

(B)(i) in the case of an insurable commodity, the coverage level elected by the insured under the policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.); or

(ii) in the case of a noninsurable commodity, the applicable coverage level for the payment quantity determined under paragraph (2); by

(C) 45 percent of the payment rate determined under paragraph (3).

(2) PAYMENT QUANTITY.—For the purpose of paragraph (1)(A), the payment quantity for quality losses for a crop of a commodity on a farm shall equal the lesser of—

(A) the actual production of the crop affected by a quality loss of the commodity on the farm; or

(B)(i) in the case of an insurable commodity, the actual production history for the commodity by the producers on the farm under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.); or

(ii) in the case of a noninsurable commodity, the established yield for the crop for the producers on the farm under section 196 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7333).

(3) PAYMENT RATE.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—For the purpose of paragraph (1)(B), the payment rate for quality losses for a crop of a commodity on a farm shall be equal to the difference between (as determined by the applicable State committee of the Farm Service Agency)—

(i) the per unit market value that the units of the crop affected by the quality loss would have had if the crop had not suffered a quality loss; and

(ii) the per unit market value of the units of the crop affected by the quality loss.

(B) FACTORS.—In determining the payment rate for quality losses for a crop of a commodity on a farm, the applicable State committee of the Farm Service Agency shall take into account—

(i) the average local market quality discounts that purchasers applied to the commodity during the first 2 months following the normal harvest period for the commodity;

(ii) the loan rate and repayment rate established for the commodity under the marketing loan program established for the commodity under subtitle B of title I of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 7931 et seq.);

(iii) the market value of the commodity if sold into a secondary market; and

(iv) other factors determined appropriate by the committee.

(4) ELIGIBILITY.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—For producers on a farm to be eligible to obtain a payment for a quality loss for a crop under this subsection—

(i) the amount obtained by multiplying the per unit loss determined under paragraph (1) by the number of units affected by the quality loss shall be reduced by the amount of any indemnification received by the producers on the farm for quality loss adjustment for the commodity under a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.); and

(ii) the remainder shall be at least 25 percent of the value that all affected production of the crop would have had if the crop had not suffered a quality loss.

(B) INELIGIBILITY.—If the amount of a quality loss payment for a commodity for the producers on a farm determined under this paragraph is equal to or less than zero, the producers on the farm shall be ineligible for assistance for the commodity under this subsection.

(5) ELIGIBLE PRODUCTION.—The Secretary shall carry out this subsection in a fair and equitable manner for all eligible production, including the production of fruits and vegetables, other specialty crops, and field crops.

(e) Timing.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary shall make payments to producers on a farm for a crop under this section not later than 60 days after the date the producers on the farm submit to the Secretary a completed application for the payments.

(2) INTEREST.—If the Secretary does not make payments to the producers on a farm by the date described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall pay to the producers on a farm interest on the payments at a rate equal to the current (as of the sign-up deadline established by the Secretary) market yield on outstanding, marketable obligations of the United States with maturities of 30 years.

SEC. 102. Dairy assistance.

The Secretary shall use $95,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to make payments to dairy producers for dairy production losses in disaster counties.

SEC. 103. Livestock assistance.

(a) Livestock Compensation Program.—

(1) USE OF COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION FUNDS.—Effective beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall use funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out the 2002 Livestock Compensation Program announced by the Secretary on October 10, 2002 (67 Fed. Reg. 63070), to provide compensation for livestock losses during calendar years 2005 and 2006 for losses (including losses due to blizzards that began in calendar year 2006 and continued in January 2007) due to a disaster, as determined by the Secretary, except that the payment rate shall be 70 percent of the payment rate established for the 2002 Livestock Compensation Program.

(2) ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS.—In carrying out the program described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide assistance to any applicant for livestock losses during calendar year 2005 or 2006, or both, that—

(A)(i) conducts a livestock operation that is located in a disaster county, including any applicant conducting a livestock operation with eligible livestock (within the meaning of the livestock assistance program under section 101(b) of division B of Public Law 108–324 (118 Stat. 1234)); or

(ii) produces an animal described in section 10806(a)(1) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (21 U.S.C. 321d(a)(1));

(B) demonstrates to the Secretary that the applicant suffered a material loss of pasture or hay production, or experienced substantially increased feed costs, due to damaging weather or a related condition during the calendar year, as determined by the Secretary; and

(C) meets all other eligibility requirements established by the Secretary for the program.

(3) MITIGATION.—In determining the eligibility for or amount of payments for which a producer is eligible under the livestock compensation program, the Secretary shall not penalize a producer that takes actions (recognizing disaster conditions) that reduce the average number of livestock the producer owned for grazing during the production year for which assistance is being provided.

(b) Livestock indemnity payments.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall use such sums as are necessary of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to make livestock indemnity payments to producers on farms that have incurred livestock losses during calendar years 2005 and 2006 for losses that occurred prior to the date of enactment of this Act (including losses due to blizzards that began in calendar year 2006 and continued in January 2007) due to a disaster, as determined by the Secretary, including losses due to hurricanes, floods, anthrax, wildfires, and extreme heat.

(2) PAYMENT RATES.—Indemnity payments to a producer on a farm under paragraph (1) shall be made at a rate of not less than 30 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock, as determined by the Secretary.

(c) Ewe lamb replacement and retention.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall use $13,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to make payments to producers located in disaster counties under the Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Payment Program under part 784 of title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (or a successor regulation) for each qualifying ewe lamb retained or purchased during the period beginning on January 1, 2006, and ending on December 31, 2006, by the producers.

(2) INELIGIBILITY FOR OTHER ASSISTANCE.—A producer that receives assistance under this subsection shall not be eligible to receive assistance under subsection (a).

SEC. 104. Flooded crop and grazing land.

(a) In general.—The Secretary shall compensate eligible owners of flooded crop and grazing land in—

(1) the Devils Lake basin; and

(2) the McHugh, Lake Laretta, and Rose Lake closed drainage areas of the State of North Dakota.

(b) Eligibility.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—To be eligible to receive compensation under this section, an owner shall own land described in subsection (a) that, during the 2 crop years preceding receipt of compensation, was rendered incapable of use for the production of an agricultural commodity or for grazing purposes (in a manner consistent with the historical use of the land) as the result of flooding, as determined by the Secretary.

(2) INCLUSIONS.—Land described in paragraph (1) shall include—

(A) land that has been flooded;

(B) land that has been rendered inaccessible due to flooding; and

(C) a reasonable buffer strip adjoining the flooded land, as determined by the Secretary.

(3) ADMINISTRATION.—The Secretary may establish—

(A) reasonable minimum acreage levels for individual parcels of land for which owners may receive compensation under this section; and

(B) the location and area of adjoining flooded land for which owners may receive compensation under this section.

(c) Sign-up.—The Secretary shall establish a sign-up program for eligible owners to apply for compensation from the Secretary under this section.

(d) Compensation payments.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), the rate of an annual compensation payment under this section shall be equal to 90 percent of the average annual per acre rental payment rate (at the time of entry into the contract) for comparable crop or grazing land that has not been flooded and remains in production in the county where the flooded land is located, as determined by the Secretary.

(2) REDUCTION.—An annual compensation payment under this section shall be reduced by the amount of any conservation program rental payments or Federal agricultural commodity program payments received by the owner for the land during any crop year for which compensation is received under this section.

(3) EXCLUSION.—During any year in which an owner receives compensation for flooded land under this section, the owner shall not be eligible to participate in or receive benefits for the flooded land under—

(A) the Federal crop insurance program established under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.);

(B) the noninsured crop assistance program established under section 196 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7333); or

(C) any Federal agricultural crop disaster assistance program.

(e) Relationship to agricultural commodity programs.—The Secretary, by regulation, shall provide for the preservation of cropland base, allotment history, and payment yields applicable to land described in subsection (a) that was rendered incapable of use for the production of an agricultural commodity or for grazing purposes as the result of flooding.

(f) Use of land.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—An owner that receives compensation under this section for flooded land shall take such actions as are necessary to not degrade any wildlife habitat on the land that has naturally developed as a result of the flooding.

(2) RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES.—To encourage owners that receive compensation for flooded land to allow public access to and use of the land for recreational activities, as determined by the Secretary, the Secretary may—

(A) offer an eligible owner additional compensation; and

(B) provide compensation for additional acreage under this section.

(g) Funding.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall use $6,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out this section.

(2) PRO-RATED PAYMENTS.—In a case in which the amount made available under paragraph (1) for a fiscal year is insufficient to compensate all eligible owners under this section, the Secretary shall pro-rate payments for that fiscal year on a per acre basis.

SEC. 105. Sugar beet and sugar cane disaster assistance.

(a) In general.—The Secretary shall use $24,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide assistance to sugar beet producers that suffered production losses (including quality losses) for the 2005 or 2006 crop year.

(b) Requirement.—The Secretary shall make payments under subsection (a) in the same manner as payments were made under section 208 of the Agricultural Assistance Act of 2003 (Public Law 108–7; 117 Stat. 544), including using the same indemnity benefits as were used in carrying out that section.

(c) Hawaii.—The Secretary shall use $3,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to assist sugarcane growers in Hawaii by making a payment in that amount to an agricultural transportation cooperative in Hawaii, the members of which are eligible to obtain a loan under section 156(a) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7272(a)).

SEC. 106. Noninsured crop assistance program.

Section 196(c) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7333(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(5) LOSS ASSESSMENT FOR GRAZING.—The Secretary shall permit the use of 1 claims adjustor certified by the Secretary to assess the quantity of loss on the acreage or allotment of a producer devoted to grazing for livestock under this section.”.

SEC. 107. Reduction in payments.

The amount of any payment for which a producer is eligible under this title shall be reduced by any amount received by the producer for the same loss or any similar loss under—

(1) the Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006 (Public Law 109–148; 119 Stat. 2680);

(2) an agricultural disaster assistance provision contained in the announcement of the Secretary on January 26, 2006, or August 29, 2006;

(3) the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, 2006 (Public Law 109-234; 120 Stat. 418); or

(4) the Livestock Assistance Grant Program announced by the Secretary on August 29, 2006.

SEC. 201. Small business economic loss grant program.

(a) Definition of qualified State.—In this section, the term “qualified State” means a State in which at least 50 percent of the counties of the State were declared to be primary agricultural disaster areas by the Secretary during the 2005 or 2006 crop year.

(b) Grants to qualified States.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall use $100,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to make grants to State departments of agriculture or comparable State agencies in qualified States.

(2) AMOUNT.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall allocate grants among qualified States described in paragraph (1) based on the average value of agricultural sector production in the qualified State, determined as a percentage of the gross domestic product of the qualified State.

(B) MINIMUM AMOUNT.—The minimum amount of a grant under this subsection shall be $500,000.

(3) REQUIREMENT.—To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, a qualified State shall agree to carry out an expedited disaster assistance program to provide direct payments to qualified small businesses in accordance with subsection (c).

(c) Direct payments to qualified small businesses.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—In carrying out an expedited disaster assistance program described in subsection (b)(3), a qualified State shall provide direct payments to eligible small businesses in the qualified State that suffered material economic losses during the 2005 or 2006 crop year as a direct result of weather-related agricultural losses to the crop or livestock production sectors of the qualified State, as determined by the Secretary.

(2) ELIGIBILITY.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—To be eligible to receive a direct payment under paragraph (1), a small business shall—

(i) have less than $15,000,000 in average annual gross income from all business activities, at least 75 percent of which shall be directly related to production agriculture or agriculture support industries, as determined by the Secretary;

(ii) verify the amount of economic loss attributable to weather-related agricultural losses using such documentation as the Secretary and the head of the qualified State agency may require;

(iii) have suffered losses attributable to weather-related agricultural disasters that equal at least 50 percent of the total economic loss of the small business for each year a grant is requested; and

(iv) demonstrate that the grant will materially improve the likelihood the business will—

(I) recover from the disaster; and

(II) continue to service and support production agriculture.

(3) REQUIREMENTS.—A direct payment to small business under this subsection shall—

(A) be limited to not more than 2 years of documented losses; and

(B) be in an amount of not more than 75 percent of the documented average economic loss attributable to weather-related agriculture disasters for each eligible year in the qualified State.

(4) INSUFFICIENT FUNDING.—If the grant funds received by a qualified State agency under subsection (b) are insufficient to fund the direct payments of the qualified State agency under this subsection, the qualified State agency may apply a proportional reduction to all of the direct payments.

SEC. 301. Emergency conservation program.

(a) In general.—The Secretary shall use an additional $35,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out emergency measures, including wildfire recovery efforts in Montana and other States, identified by the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency as of the date of enactment of this Act through the emergency conservation program established under title IV of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.), of which $3,000,000 shall be to repair broken irrigation pipelines and damaged and collapsed water tanks on the Big Island in the State of Hawaii, including $2,000,000 to repair stone fences on cattle ranches in the Kona and Kohala areas and $1,000,000 to provide emergency loans for losses of agricultural income due to the earthquake of October 15, 2006.

(b) Kohala Ditch system.—The Secretary shall use $2,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide a grant to the Big Island Resource Conservation and Development Council, Incorporated, to repair the Kohala Ditch system.

SEC. 302. Emergency watershed protection program.

The Secretary shall use an additional $70,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out emergency measures identified by the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service as of the date of enactment of this Act through the emergency watershed protection program established under section 403 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2203), of which $10,000,000 shall be for emergency measures on the Big Island in the State of Hawaii, including $6,000,000 to repair the Lower Hamakua Ditch and $4,000,000 to repair the Waimea Irrigation System/Upper Hamakua Ditch.

SEC. 303. Environmental quality incentives program.

The Secretary shall use an additional $75,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out emergency measures identified by the Secretary through the environmental quality incentives program established under chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa et seq.), of which not less than $40,000,000 shall be used to carry out wildfire and blizzard recovery efforts (including in Montana and other States).

SEC. 401. Funding for additional personnel.

The Secretary shall use $9,000,000 of funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to hire additional County Farm Service Agency personnel—

(1) to expedite the implementation of, and delivery under, the agricultural disaster and economic assistance programs under this Act; and

(2) as the Secretary determines to be necessary to carry out other agriculture and disaster assistance programs.

SEC. 501. Contract waiver.

In carrying out this Act and section 101(a)(5) of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Hurricane Disasters Assistance Act, 2005 (Public Law 108–324; 118 Stat. 1233), the Secretary shall not require participation in a crop insurance pilot program relating to forage.

SEC. 502. Funding.

The Secretary shall use the funds, facilities, and authorities of the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out this Act, to remain available until expended.

SEC. 503. Regulations.

(a) In general.—The Secretary may promulgate such regulations as are necessary to implement this Act.

(b) Procedure.—The promulgation of the regulations and administration of this Act shall be made without regard to—

(1) the notice and comment provisions of section 553 of title 5, United States Code;

(2) the Statement of Policy of the Secretary of Agriculture effective July 24, 1971 (36 Fed. Reg. 13804), relating to notices of proposed rulemaking and public participation in rulemaking; and

(3) chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code (commonly known as the “Paperwork Reduction Act”).

(c) Congressional review of agency rulemaking.—In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall use the authority provided under section 808 of title 5, United States Code.

SEC. 601. Emergency designation.

The amounts provided under this Act are designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 402 of H. Con. Res. 95 (109th Congress).


Share This