FAQ: I’ve heard about livestock disaster programs available through the USDA Farm Service Agency, but I’m not sure this applies to my operation. What programs are available and have they always been available?
Answer: Provided by Beth Grabau, public information and outreach specialist at the Farm Service Agency state office in Des Moines.
The 2008 Farm Bill authorized a number of livestock related disaster programs. Some are new to FSA and these programs provide different forms of assistance. FSA administers several important programs that help producers recover from livestock deaths, feed losses and other losses associated with livestock production.
The programs available to address impacts from disasters are the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP), as well as Emergency and Farm Operating Loans. With the exception of the loan programs, most of these programs are only authorized through the end of this farm program and therefore are for eligible losses that occur prior to October 1, 2011.
Livestock producers need to remember that timely reporting to their local FSA offices is key to the eligibility for many of these programs. Fact sheets for the above listed programs can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov; click on Newsroom, then Fact Sheets.
How do these programs assist livestock producers?
The Livestock Indemnity Program or LIP, provides benefits to commercial livestock producers when deaths are in excess of normal mortality caused by an adverse weather condition. Payments are made on a per head basis for cattle, poultry, swine, elk, goats, emus, sheep and other livestock that were lost.
Although not currently the case in Iowa, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that suffered grazing losses for covered livestock on land that was affected by drought.
The ELAP or the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program covers losses that are not covered by LIP, LFP, or the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE). This program covers honeybees and farm raised fish for commercial purposes, while the other programs do not.
Besides livestock losses, ELAP also covers feed and grazing losses for those that are eligible and if the loss is due to an adverse weather condition. Eligibility is for feed loss of purchased and mechanically harvested forage and feedstuffs as well as additional costs incurred for providing or transporting feed to livestock, or costs for purchasing additional feed, above normal to maintain livestock during an adverse weather condition. Feed losses cannot exceed 90 days of lost feed.
How do the emergency or farm operating loans fit in?
Emergency and/or farm operating loans are available to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to natural disasters. These loans can be for the physical loss to livestock or livestock products, as well as to restore or replace essential buildings or other property needed to for the farming or ranching enterprise.
Emergency loans for those producers suffering a physical or production loss are available after an area is declared by the President of the United States as a disaster area or designated by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture as a disaster.
What do I need to do to sign up? What documentation is needed for these programs?
Some disaster programs require that a Notice of Loss be reported to FSA within 30 days of the loss. We encourage all who have suffered a disaster due to the recent severe weather conditions to contact their local FSA office so they can begin the application process.
Producers need to document the number and kind of livestock that have died as a direct result of these adverse weather conditions. There may also be situations where producers are transporting feed to their livestock. Producers should document these additional costs. Good records that document losses and/or additional expenses are very important.
Annually filing an accurate and timely acreage report for all crops and land uses on cropland and non-cropland is also important. These crop reports document the type of grazing land that producers have an interest in. Planting dates for these crops by field is also required.
The final date to report all crop acreage including CRP, hay and grasses is June 30, 2011. Late filing fees are charged by farm for acres that are certified after the deadline. The minimum fee per farm is $46.
Contact your local FSA office regarding applications for farm operating loans. Applications for emergency loans must be received within eight months of the county’s disaster designation date.
If you have specific questions or need details regarding USDA farm programs, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. You can also get news and information about DCP, ACRE and other USDA programs at www.fsa.usda.gov.
Two Iowa State University Extension Web sites have farm program information and analysis. They are ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm and ISU Extension Specialist Steve Johnson's site at www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farmmanagement.htm. And be sure to read the regular column "Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program" that appears in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at www.WallacesFarmer.com
Two Iowa State University Extension Web sites have farm program information and analysis. They are ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm and ISU Extension Specialist Steve Johnson's site at www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farmmanagement.htm.
And be sure to read the regular column "Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program" that appears in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at www.WallacesFarmer.com