Farm Service Agency Telephone Scam

According to the USDA, a phone scam is ongoing with Farm Service Agency customers.  The caller identifies themselves as a Farm Service Agency representative from Washington D.C., stating FSA “owes” you disaster assistance funds.  The caller will then request your checking account information or credit card number so the funds may be credited to your account.

Do not, under any circumstances, provide your financial information, such as checking account number, credit card number, or other information.

If you have questions about disaster assistance or any other FSA program, please contact your local FSA office.

Updated natural disaster area declarations for Nebraska and Colorado and Kansas contiguous counties

We’ve previously discussed the meaning of a USDA disaster area declaration.  Briefly, a disaster area designation permits producers to access certain USDA programs, such as low interest emergency loans.  Producers have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for assistance.  Also note that counties contiguous to the counties named as disaster areas qualify for disaster assistance.

On May 28, 2014, the USDA designated 18 Nebraska counties as primary disaster areas due to drought conditions.  The primary disaster counties are:

Arthur Garden Loup
Blaine Garfield McPherson
Custer Gosper Phelps
Dawson Grant Sherman
Deuel Hooker Thomas
Furnas Logan Valley

As a result, 19 other Nebraska counties contiguous counties.  The contiguous counties are:

Brown Harlan Morrill
Buffalo Holt Perkins
Cherry Howard Red Willow
Cheyenne Kearney Rock
Franklin Keith Sheridan
Frontier Lincoln Wheeler

Also note that Sedgwick County in Colorado and Decatur and Norton counties in Kansas are also contiguous counties and therefore eligible for assistance.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us.

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.