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Cochran pushing USDA for livestock warranty program

WASHINGTON — Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cooperate with livestock industry officials in Mississippi to create and implement a warranty program that would help protect livestock producers after their herds are affected by disease.

Cochran, along with fellow senators from Alabama and Georgia, has written Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to encourage him to continue providing USDA assistance in developing a livestock warranty program to protect producers. A warranty program would help reduce the risk of financial losses when herds are quarantined or destroyed because of diseases, such as bovine tuberculosis, according to Cochran.

“This is an industry-led initiative that would not cost the federal government anything but would add a level of protection for livestock producers should disease hit their herds,” said Cochran, who serves on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “Other industries have created similar programs, and input from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is needed to successfully structure and implement such a program for livestock producers.”

In the letter to Vilsack, Cochran, along with Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and Alabama Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, noted that livestock owners and producers often face financial hardships when the USDA or a state agency issues quarantine or herd destruction orders for an affected herd.

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