Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Program Sign-Ups Announced

As of Tuesday, April 15, 2014, farmers and ranchers may sign-up for disaster assistance programs that received funding under the 2014 Farm Bill.

The following disaster assistance programs are taking sign-ups:

Livestock Indemnity Program (“LIP”) and Livestock Forage Disaster Program (“LFP”) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

LIP provides payments to eligible producers who suffered livestock death in excess of normal mortality due to weather (see: South Dakota blizzard).  Eligible livestock include beef cattle, dairy cattle, bison, poultry, sheep, swine, horses, and other livestock as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.  Remember that documentation of livestock death is required.  The documentation can include photographs and video of the livestock loss (dated if possible); purchase records, veterinarian records, production records, or bank or other loan documents; and/or Written contracts, records assembled for tax purposes, private insurance documents, and other similar reliable documents.

LFP provides payments to eligible producers grazing losses due to drought or fire.  Payments for drought are equal to 60 percent of the monthly feed cost for up to five months.  Payments for drought are based upon the severity of drought as rated by the United States Drought Monitor.  You can see if your county is eligible here. Payments for fire on federally managed rangeland are equal to 50 percent of the monthly feed cost for the number of days the producer is prohibited from grazing the managed rangeland, not to exceed 180 calendar days. The grazing losses must have occurred on or after Oct. 1, 2011.

Funding is also available under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (“ELAP”).  ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.

If any of these disaster assistance programs may work for you, call your local FSA office.  The first step to any potential payment is determining eligibility and signing up for the program.

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