(AP) - As Congress negotiates a compromise over the farm bill, the most important thing for South Dakota and its beleaguered livestock industry isn't any one provision. Rather, it's passing any sort of bill to restore the help for farmers that expired this fall.

Congress last enacted a farm bill in 2008, a deal which expired in 2012 and was eventually extended until the end of September. As a result, key provisions protecting livestock producers were not in place during early October's devastating blizzard.

The storm caught ranchers flatfooted. State officials estimate a loss of as many as 15,000 to 30,000 cattle.

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, on the team negotiating a compromise, says the blizzard has focused lawmakers. She says passage is critical because the livestock industry can't get help anywhere else.