The proposal was made during testimony at an official field hearing held in Wall, of the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on the 2007 Farm Bill.
The plan focuses on the livestock industry and the serious impacts throughout all of South Dakota on our water systems, crops and livestock from the extreme drought. The governor emphasized the importance of farm programs that help South Dakota producers.
"The over-riding logic here is that moisture and production are directly related," said Gov. Rounds. "A percentage deviation from normal moisture available can be used to assess a percentage of lost productivity. Then, assistance can be based on that lost productivity."
Payments would be calculated based upon the deviation from normal moisture as it affects the productivity of the land. Compensation is tied directly to the crops or livestock forage that did not grow because of inadequate moisture.
The proposal leads to two very important immediate benefits:
- Using science based calculations in a pre-set formula would provide the right amount of help to the right people.
- Using science based calculations would help bring stability to a chaotic situation because producers would know what help they would be getting depending on the lack of moisture as it applies to their land and production capability.
Gov. Rounds also testified on his strong support for the Conservation Title for the 2007 Farm Bill and the importance of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for South Dakota agriculture. CRP allows landowners to partner with other government and private programs to diversify their incomes while achieving soil and water conservation on their lands. CRP has also provided much needed emergency hay in drought years and has made a big difference for our farmers and ranchers ability to survive in times of extended drought.