Congressional leaders have advised the Bush administration that they intend to add a disaster assistance package to the emergency supplemental appropriations measure providing funds for the war, which will be considered in March.

At the end of 2006, Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., joined by others, revised previous disaster packages and offered legislation that would cover losses in excess of 35 percent for 2005 and 2006 crops. Recently, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced a $1.5 billion disaster assistance package to cover freeze damage.

It is not known at this time what final disaster package might be included, but it is likely to provide “traditional” disaster assistance to producers for 2005 or 2006 crop losses — at their choice — that exceeded 35 percent of crop insurance yields. It is expected that crop losses due to freezing weather in California and livestock losses due to severe winter storms in the Midwest also will be covered.