How to Document Wildfire Losses

by Andy Schwab

If you’ve suffered excessive livestock death losses and grazing or feed losses due to recent wildfires, you may be eligible for disaster assistance programs through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) offers payments to you for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs.

To participate in LIP, you will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event, and you must submit a notice of loss to your local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent. To participate in ELAP, you must submit a notice of loss to your local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent and should maintain documentation and receipts.

You should record all pertinent information regarding livestock losses due to the eligible adverse weather or loss condition, including:

  • Documentation of the number, kind, type, and weight range of livestock that have died, supplemented, if possible, by photographs or video records of ownership and losses;
  • Rendering truck receipts by kind, type and weight – important to document prior to disposal;
  • Beginning inventory supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts;
  • Documentation from Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Department of Natural Resources, or other sources to substantiate eligible death losses due to an eligible loss condition;
  • Documentation that livestock were removed from grazing pastures due to an eligible adverse weather or loss condition;
  • Costs of transporting livestock feed to eligible livestock, such as receipts for equipment rental fees for hay lifts and snow removal;
  • Feed purchase receipts if feed supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed;
  • Number of gallons of water transported to livestock due to water shortages.

For more information on these programs and documentation requirements, contact your local FSA office and visit


FSA – 2021

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