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Scott bill would help small livestock producers

The United States loses an average of 17,000 beef producers each year, said House Agriculture chairman David Scott in filing legislation that would increase USDA support of small producers and help them find local and regional markets for their beef.

“We believe we are on the right track,” Scott told reporters last week.

The bill, HR 8590, would boost the premium subsidy for Livestock Risk Protection insurance by 20 percentage points, to as high as 75%, for small ranchers with 100 or fewer cattle, and would create a formula for indemnity payments whenever the farmer’s share of retail beef prices falls below 51.7%.

Producers would pay $100 per year to be eligible for payments. The bill also would create a grant program that focuses on direct-to-consumer and direct-to-institution sales.

Grants of up to $500,000 apiece could be used to purchase processing equipment and facilities, for financial and business planning services, and to support value-added practices.

Scott said he might move the legislation separately or try to include it in the 2023 farm bill. He said he hoped to attract a wide variety of co-sponsors for the bill and described outreach to House Democratic leaders and to Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee.

Text of HR 8590 is available here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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