Tuesday, February 27, 2024

USDA Offers Livestock Disaster Program Flexibilities for Producers Hit by Drought and Winter Storms

by Colter Brown

Bozeman, Montana – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has provided additional flexibilities and further enhanced disaster recovery assistance provided by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP)Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in response to needs expressed by livestock producers in the Western U.S. who have experienced significant feed, forage, animal and infrastructure loss from preexisting, long-term drought conditions further compounded by unprecedented snowfall and winter storms.

These livestock disaster program policy enhancements include an extended June 2, 2023, deadline to submit notices of loss and applications for payment for 2022 losses. The deadline extension and program flexibilities are available to eligible producers nationwide who incurred losses from a qualifying natural disaster event.   

“Impacted producers are encouraged contact their FSA county offices to take advantage of ELAP enhancements. Expenses eligible for assistance can include above normal feed purchases, above normal freight, even snow removal in some cases,” said Maureen Wicks, State Executive Director for FSA in Montana. “This Administration continues to demonstrate our understanding of and commitment to livestock production. Last year, we changed a policy in LIP to better reflect the investment producers have in newborn livestock.  This year, cognizant of the fact that many of our producers are managing open range operations, unprecedented amounts of snow, and in some cases are just now realizing all their losses, we are extending the deadline to apply for these critical programs to allow these producers the time they need to manage their recovery.”  

LIP and ELAP reimburses producers for a portion of the value of livestock, poultry and other animals that died because of a qualifying natural disaster event or for loss of grazing acres, feed, and forage. LFP provides benefits for grazing losses due to a qualifying drought or wildfire. For fire, losses must occur on federally managed lands. ELAP provides benefits for grazing losses not covered under LFP.        

New Program Applications for 2022  
FSA is accepting 2022 LIP notices of loss and applications for payment through June 2, 2023, for all covered livestock that may have been eligible in 2022.     

Producers who did not sign up for ELAP assistance for hauling livestock, forage and feedstuff hauling or other losses covered under ELAP in 2022 can also apply through June 2, 2023.   

FSA will accept LFP applications for only newly eligible covered livestock through June 2, 2023.   

All required supporting documentation must be received and on file in the county office by the established deadline.     

Revising 2022 Applications   
Producers who have a 2022 ELAP, LIP or LFP application on file with FSA as of the program deadline or were placed on an approved register, may revise their application with the newly updated eligible livestock no later than June 2, 2023.    

Filing a Notice of Loss for ELAP due to 2022 and 2023 Drought   
To support program access for counties that do not currently have a 365-day grazing season, FSA is waiving the 30-day timeframe for producers to submit a notice of loss for the 2023 ELAP program year due to qualifying drought in calendar years 2022 or 2023. Producers can now submit a notice of loss from the date the loss is apparent, as far back as Jan. 1, 2023, for 2022 eligible losses and 2023 eligible losses that occur before June 2, 2023.     

For counties that have a 365-day grazing season, producers must have a qualifying drought in the 2023 calendar year to be eligible for 2023 livestock, water and feed hauling in 2023.  

More Information  
Livestock producers must provide evidence that livestock death was due to an eligible adverse weather event or loss condition. In addition, livestock producers should bring supporting evidence, including documentation of the number and kind of livestock that died, photographs or video records to document the loss, purchase records, veterinarian records, production records and other similar documents. Owners who sold injured livestock for a reduced price because the livestock were injured due to an adverse weather event, must provide verifiable evidence of the reduced sale of the livestock.    

Producers can apply for ELAP, LFP and LIP benefits at their local FSA county office. For more information or to submit a notice of loss or an application for payment, please contact your local FSA office or visit farmers.gov/recover.  

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USDA

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