Nebraska U.S. Senator Ben Sasse took advantage of a lull in Senate floor activity to get a first hand look at disaster damage, joining agriculture leaders on a one day tour of the state Friday.
Along with Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson and Nebraska Cattlemen President Mike Drinnin, Sasse noted the resiliency of the state’s farmers, ranchers and agribusiness sector in dealing with the storm damage.
“The people who are living this know well, just because the waters recede this is not a days and weeks recovery, this is a months and years recovery,” says Sasse.
Sasse says while FEMA operations, and those of the Army Corp of Engineers, are focused on long-term needs including infrastructure, one way the government can help people in the ag sector trying to get back in business is be more nimble with a common-sense application of USDA rules.
“One example of that is the Livestock Indemnity pProgram, where producers have 30 days to declare what their losses are,” says Sasse. “You have herds that are partially washed away, partially drowned, and sometimes just partially separated from an operation where producers don’t know what their losses are in 30 days. We want to make sure that 30-day clock doesn’t start to tick until beyond the end of the disaster to make that application to the LIP.”
Sasse says there’s a lot Nebraskans need to understand about the magnitude of the disaster, but 10 and 20 years from now, the story of the great Nebraska flood of 2019 won’t be of the devastation, it will be primarily about the grit of Nebraskans who pull through this. “Nebraska Nice is great, but Nebraska Strong is greater.”