Summary: H.R.5015 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (08/08/1988)

(Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 100-830)

Disaster Assistance Act of 1988 - Title I: Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988 - Amends the Agricultural Act of 1949 to add a new title VI which may be cited as the Emergency Livestock Feed Assitance Act of 1988.

Includes Indian tribes, organizations, and specified enterprises actively engaged in livestock production or dairying within the definition of "livestock producers" for purposes of assistance under this title. States that the term "area" shall include Indian reservations.

Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to provide emergency feed assistance in any State, county, or area of a State where disease, weather, or other natural disaster has created a livestock emergency, as determined by the Secretary.

Directs the Secretary to provide assistance to otherwise eligible producers who conduct farming, ranching, or aquaculture operations in any county contiguous to a disaster-designated county.

States that the Governor of a State or a county committee may request the Secretary to make a livestock emergency determination and to provide assistance. Authorizes the Secretary to make such determination on his own initiative. Requires the Secretary to make such determination within 30 days of request and to notify the requesting party of any proposed action.

States that producers in counties eligible for the emergency feed or emergency feed assistance programs in 1988 shall maintain such eligibility and be eligible for assistance under this title. Directs the Secretary to determine such counties' eligibility for assistance under this title.

States that an eligible producer may receive assistance as follows: (1) assistance to offset inadequate feed stocks resulting from on-farm losses; and (2) assistance to maintain foundation herds if the producer does not have, and is unable to obtain through normal channels without undue cost, necessary feed stocks.

Sets forth the following assistance programs available under this title: (1) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) feed donations and reduced price sales; (2) partial reimbursement of feed purchase expenses; and (3) partial reimbursement of transportation and handling costs for such CCC feed, for hay, and for transporting livestock to and from available grazing areas (not to exceed $24 a head).

Permits the Secretary to: (1) make in-kind payments; and (2) provide assistance through feed dealers or manufacturers.

Authorizes the Secretary to provide the following additional assistance if necessary: (1) CCC feed donations for stranded and unidentified livestock, including transportation costs; (2) water assistance; (3) CCC catalog commodities in lots appropriate to family farmers; and (4) reimbursement for the cost of burning prickly pear cactus to make it suitable for animal feed.

Limits total assistance under this title for each livestock disaster to any one person to $50,000. Prohibits assistance to any person with gross annual revenues in excess of $2,500,000. Subjects each person (including individual members of a cooperative producer association) to the overall payment limitation ($100,000) under this Act.

Prohibits a person from receiving assistance under this title for lost feed production due to the 1988 drought to the extent that such person receives production disaster payments under this Act.

Subjects persons who misuse such assistance to a civil penalty equal to the market value of the involved fee, and a fine of up to $1000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

Amends the Agricultural Act of 1949 to repeal the Secretary's authority to reduce 1989 milk price supports (50-cents per hundredweight). Provides a 50-cent price support increase effective April 1, 1989 through June 30, 1989.

Directs the Secretary to implement an emergency forage program to reseed pasture damaged by the drought or related condition in 1988. Provides for: (1) 50 percent cost-sharing; (2) a $3,500 limit on payments to any one producer; and (3) a $50,000,000 limit on CCC funds available for such program.

Title II: Emergency Crop Loss Assistance-Subtitle A: Annual Crops - Provides that, for producers of the 1988 crops of wheat, feed grains, upland cotton, extra long staple cotton, or rice who participated in the production adjustment program under the Agricultural Act of 1949, the Secretary shall make disaster payments to those producers who have suffered at least 35 percent production losses due to the 1988 drought, hail, excessive moisture, or related condition. States that such payments shall be made at a rate equal to 65 percent of the established price for deficiencies in excess of 35 percent but not more than 75 percent, and at 90 percent for that part of the deficiency in excess of 75 percent. Requires producers to have crop insurance in order to receive such payments. Limits eligible acres to a farm's permitted program acreage.

Exempts producers of wheat, feed grains, upland cotton, and rice from advance deficiency repayments for up to 35 percent of crop losses. Permits eligible producers who had elected not to receive such payments prior to enactment of this Act to change their decision.

States that effective for the 1988 crops of wheat, feed grains, upland cotton, and rice, if the Secretary requires repayment of any part of the advance deficiency payments, such repayment shall not be required before July 31, 1989.

Provides similar disaster payments to producers who did not participate in such production adjustment program. Bases payments on the basic county loan rate (or comparable price). Provides for prevented planting credit based on: (1) 1987 planted or prevented acreage; (2) the past three years' planted or prevented acreage; and (3) 1988 planted acreage.

Provides similar disaster payments to producers of the 1988 crops of peanuts, tobacco, and sugar beets and sugarcane. Bases payments for: (1) peanuts, on the program yield or comparable price; (2) tobacco on the county average field or comparable price; and (3) sugar beets and sugarcane on 1988 price support levels. Provides for prevented planting credit.

Sets forth special payment provisions for peanuts, tobacco, and sugar beets and sugarcane.

Makes 1988 sugar beet and sugarcane producers eligible for disaster assistance if they were unable to process such commodities into sugar due to the inability of processing plants to process sugar as a result of drought, hail, excessive moisture, or related condition. Reduces such payments by any proceeds from crop sales.

Provides similar disaster payments and prevented planting credit to producers of the 1988 soybean and nonprogram crops. Bases: (1) soybean losses on a specified percentage of the previous three years' yield; and (2) nonprogram losses on a specified percentage of the yield as established by the CCC.

Directs the Secretary to make nonprogram crop disaster payments on a crop by crop basis, giving consideration to crop markets and uses.

Authorizes disaster payments based on crop quality reductions (on losses of between 35 percent and 75 percent).

Requires producers to obtain crop insurance in order to be eligible for disaster payments, emergency loans, or advance deficiency repayment forgiveness.

Amends the Federal Crop Insurance Act to require the provision of crop insurance for different types of dry edible beans beginning with the 1989 crop year. Directs the Crop Insurance Corporation to make improvements in: (1) dissemination of crop insurance information; (2) training of crop insurance personnel; and (3) Federal and State cooperation.

Authorizes the Secretary to transfer CCC funds during FY 1988 to the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service to carry out the provisions of titles I and II of this Act if funding is not provided under a FY 1988 supplemental appropriation.

Directs the Secretary, within 15 days after enactment of this Act, to announce the terms by which producers may prove their yield on crops harvested for silage or other forage uses.

Limits individuals to $100,000 in disaster payments. Prohibits a person with qualifying gross revenues in excess of $2,000,000 from receiving such assistance. Limits a person to $100,000 of combined assistance for crop disaster assistance and livestock disaster assistance. Permits a person to elect which form of assistance to receive. Prohibits a person from receiving disaster payments attributable to 1988 drought-caused crop losses to the extent that such person receives livestock emergency benefits for such lost production under the Agricultural Act of 1949.

Authorizes the Secretary to determine a de minimus yield for each crop eligible for reduced yield disaster payments.

Subtitle B: Forest Crops - Provides disaster payments in cash or tree seedlings to commercial tree farmers who lost trees (in excess of 35 percent) planted in 1987 or 1988 as a result of the drought or related condition in 1988.

Subtitle C: Administrative Provisions - Directs the Secretary to make disaster assistance under this title available as soon as possible. Requires assistance applications to be submitted by March 31, 1989, or such later date as the Secretary may prescribe.

Defines "qualifying gross revenue" to mean: (1) for a person who receives the majority of his or her income from farming, ranching, and forestry operations, the gross revenues from such activities; and (2) for a person who receives less than a majority of his or her income from such activities, the gross revenues from all sources.

Subtitle D: Sense of Congress - Expresses the sense of the Congress that disaster payments are intended to preserve each producer's livelihood, protect the agricultural infrastructure, and preserve rural communities.

Title III: Other Emergency Provisions - Subtitle A: Commodity Stock Adjustment - Amends the Agricultural Act of 1949 to provide that the Secretary shall for the 1989 crop, and may for the 1990 crop, permit producers to plant soybeans and sunflowers on at least ten percent but not more than 25 percent of their permitted crop acreage. Directs the Secretary to reduce or prohibit such plantings if estimated soybean prices will be less than 115 percent of the previous year's soybean loan rate.

Directs the Secretary to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a statement of permission or nonpermission or reductions for such plantings by specified times for each of the 1989 and 1990 crop years.

Directs the Secretary to submit to the appropriate congressional committees by specified times for each of the 1989 and 1990 soybean crops a statement setting forth the reasons for implementation or nonimplementation of the soybean marketing loan program. Requires such statement to include: (1) an economic evaluation of domestic and foreign soybean markets; (2) the U.S. soybean export market outlook; (3) a computation of the prevailing world price; and (4) the fiscal impact of soybean marketing loans.

Directs the Secretary to provide loans and export assistance for cottonseeds if such crop's prices are adversely affected by soybean and sunflower plantings under this title.

Directs the Secretary for FY 1989 and 1990 to purchase cottonseed oil and sunflower seed oil to facilitate such products' export.

Directs the Secretary to permit producers to designate any portion of their 1989 or 1990 farm acreage base for oats if the feed grain acreage base for such years is less than 12.5 percent.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that, with respect to the 1989 and 1990 feed grain crops, if such crops' acreage limitation percentage exceeds 12.5 percent the Secretary should establish the lowest possible oats acreage limitation if market imbalances for barley and oats exist.

Provides that, effective for the 1988 marketing year for wheat and feed grains, producers may repay specified commodity loans without additional interest or other specified charges if the producer reserve program trigger level has been met.

Provides that, if during the 1988 marketing year the Secretary permits producers to place wheat and feed grains into the producer reserve, no storage payments nor interest forgiveness shall be permitted on such stored commodities during the marketing year.

Permits generic commodity certificates redeemable for CCC comodities to be used to repay loans made through the producer-owned reserve.

Amends the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 to permit the transfer of a burley tobacco quota if: (1) the burley planted acreage on the farm to which the quota is assigned is sufficient to produce the effective farm marketing quota under average conditions; and (2) the farm's expected burley production is less than 80 percent of the farm's effective marketing quota as a result of a natural disaster.

Authorizes a 1989 adjustment in a burley marketing quota for 1988 disaster-caused undermarketings of up to 125 percent of the producer's basic quota.

States that with regard to a fall peanut quota transfer by a cash lessee, the landowner shall not be required to sign the transfer authorization.

Subtitle B: Disaster Credit and Forbearance - Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to waive certain crop insurance requirements with respect to producers who apply for emergency loans under such Act to cover 1988 crop losses.

Directs the Secretary to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable that Farmers Home Administration direct operating loans for 1989 crop production are made available to producers suffering major losses resulting from the 1988 drought or related condition.

Directs the Secretary to make available in FY 1989 specified operating loan guarantees, in addition to existing purposes for such guarantees, to refinance and reamortize 1988 operating debt resulting from major farming or ranching losses resulting from the 1988 drought or related condition. Makes persons eligible for disaster assistance under this title eligible for such loan guarantees if they meet other specified criteria.

Authorizes the Secretary to use money from the Agricultural Credit Insurance Fund to provide such loan guarantees.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the Secretary should exercise forbearance in debt collection and encourage similar actions by commercial lenders and expedited loan restructuring with respect to producers suffering major drought losses.

Subtitle C: Conservation Assistance - Provides that with respect to a producer who harvested hay during the 1988 crop year on conservation reserve program acreage, such producer's rental payments shall not be reduced to the extent that he or she pays the cost of carrying out additional practices designed to enhance soil, water, and wildlife conservation on or in the vicinity of such land in accordance with a Soil Conservation Service approved plan.

Subtitle D: Rural Businesses - Directs the Secretary to make rural industrialization loan guarantees to assist rural businesses (including cooperatives) and Indian tribes and organizations adversely affected by drought, hail, excessive moisture, or related condition in 1988. Limits: (1) loan guarantees to 90 percent of the principal; (2) individual guarantees to $500,000; and (3) aggregate guarantees to $200,000,000.

States that if during any month after July 31, 1988, the average corn price exceeds a certain fuel conversion price: (1) the Secretary shall make not more than 12,000,000 bushels of CCC corn available per month to domestic ethanol producers; (2) the price of such corn shall be not more than the fuel conversion price but not less than 110 percent of the basic county loan rate for corn; (3) maximum individual amounts shall not exceed 2,000,000 bushels per month; and (4) producers shall not resell such corn, and shall make certain amounts of feed byproducts available for domestic livestock producers. Authorizes program termination if: (1) such program is no longer necessary to maintain the economic vitality of the ethanol industry; or (2) a specified sufficient supply of CCC corn would not otherwise be available for the emergency livestock feeding programs, except that the program shall be terminated no later than September 1, 1989.

Permits, upon request by a domestic producer of ethanol, the substitution of another feed grain (including grain sorghum) for corn.

Directs the Secretary, within 90 days of enactment of this Act, to conduct a survey of agriculture-related rural businesses to determine the adverse effects of the 1988 drought and report to the appropriate congressional committees.

Directs the Secretary: (1) within 60 days after the enactment of this Act, to prepare and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the financial impact that forward contracting, hedging, and associated margin requirements for wheat, feed grains, and soybeans have had on producers and on grain markets during the drought period; (2) to contact such committees if the report indicates serious economic consequences are likely to arise from such practices; and (3) to consult with the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on issues concerning futures markets.

Expresses the sense of the Congress concerning the need for comprehensive rural economic assistance.

Subtitle E: Agricultural Exports - Expresses the sense of the Congress that there should be no: (1) embargo on exports of domestic agricultural commodities and products; or (2) any other actions that would jeopardize U.S. export markets or give our trading partners reasons to doubt the reliability of U.S. agricultural suppliers.

Subtitle F: Food Prices - Directs the Secretary to: (1) conduct a study of food and commodity prices as of December 31, 1988, to determine the effect of the 1988 drought on recipients of Federal nutrition and hunger benefits; and (2) report to the Congress by March 1, 1989.

Title IV: Water-Related Assistance - Subtitle A: Water Management for Rural Areas - Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) undertake water-problem related projects, including research, grants, technical assistance, loans, and extension services; and (2) cooperate with other Federal agencies, State or local units, universities, Indian tribes, or public or private entities. Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle B: Emergency Drought Authority - Part 1: Reclamation States Drought Assistance - Reclamation States Drought Assistance Act of 1988 - Directs the Secretary of the Interior to: (1) perform studies by March 1, 1990, to identify opportunities to use or conserve water supplies available to Federal reclamation projects and Indian water resource development; (2) undertake construction and conservation activities to mitigate drought losses and damages; and (3) assist water purchases and redistributions with the objective of minimizing drought damage.

Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to make available by contract through December 31, 1989, water or canal capacity at Federal reclamation projects to mitigate drought damage, including wildlife and fish protection.

Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to make water use emergency loans to mitigate drought damage.

Requires the Secretary of the Interior to report to the President and the Congress by March 1, 1990, regarding such assistance programs and drought problems in the Reclamation States.

Amends the Flood Control Act of 1962 to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to make available to the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts, California, at the current contract rate, unallocated storage carried over from the previous year.

States that the programs under this part shall become operative only after: (1) the Governor of the State has declared a drought emergency; and (2) the affected area is declared eligible for Federal disaster relief.

Terminates programs under this part on December 31, 1989, unless otherwise provided for.

Part 2: Water Project - Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to install a temperature control curtain at Shasta Dam, Central Valley project, California, in order to determine its effectiveness in controlling water release temperatures in order to protect anadromous fisheries in the Sacramento River and San Francisco Bay/Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta and Estuary. Limits project costs to $5,500,000.

Part 3: Authorization and Savings Clause - Authorizes appropriations for activities under this subtitle.

Title V: Migrant or Seasonal Farmworker Assistance - Amends the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to exclude from household income for purposes of food stamp eligibility emergency assistance provided to migrant or seasonal farmworker households during the time such households are in the job stream. Prohibits prorating of benefits for the month of application if such household has received benefits for a period within 30 days of the date of application.

Provides assistance by transfer from the disaster relief program through the Secretary of Labor to low-income agricultural workers adversely affected by the 1988 drought.