Bill introduced to provide assistance to Native American ranchers

Sen. John Thune, R-SD, a longtime member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, recently introduced the Native American Livestock Assistance Act of 2018 (S. 2316). As part of his ongoing effort to introduce multiple proposals to be included in the 2018 farm bill, this legislation would provide more disaster assistance for horses and other grazing livestock owned by individual Native Americans. The bill would make horses that are kept for personal use and are owned by individual Native American tribal members (and who own or lease land that is used to graze or feed those horses) eligible for the Livestock Forage Program and the Livestock Indemnity Program.

This bill also provides premium discount assistance for individual Native American ranchers who purchase policies for the Risk Management Agency Pasture, Rangeland Forage crop insurance programs for the first time.

“After consulting with South Dakota tribal leaders and members, I’ve introduced a bill that would provide disaster assistance for Native Americans who own horses for personal use and a one-time higher grazing loss insurance premium discount to encourage Native American ranchers to purchase those policies,” said Thune. “Since horses are an important part of Native American culture, tradition and day-to-day life and many Native Americans own grazing livestock, I’ve written this legislation to provide greater assistance to these tribal members when natural disasters occur.”

“We appreciate Sen. Thune’s recognition of the importance of horses to our Native American culture and his bill that would provide Livestock Indemnity Program and Livestock Forage Program disaster assistance for horses owned by individual Native Americans for their personal use,” said Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. “The legislation’s one-time increased premium discount assistance for the Pasture, Rangeland and Forage grazing insurance would provide a much-needed incentive to encourage individual Native American ranchers to participate in this helpful insurance program and sustain their grazing livestock operations.”

Thune’s legislation would increase the premium discount for individual Native Americans who own eligible grazing livestock and who own or lease eligible insurable land under PRF policies. The premium subsidy would be increased only for those individual members of a Native American tribe who have not previously purchased a PRF policy and the premium discount increase would apply only for the first year of PRF enrollment by the Native American tribal member.

The one-time PRF premium discount increase would rise from a rate of between 51 to 59 percent, depending on level of coverage, to a maximum of 90 percent for Native American individual producers. Subsequent premium discounts would be at current unmodified percentages.

To learn more about Thune’s 2018 farm bill, please visit the farm bill section on