2014 Farm Bill Update: Sign-up for livestock disaster aid back to 2011 now underway

Monday, April 28, 2014

Disaster payments for grazing livestock producers are on the way. Farmers, with weather losses back to 2011 can sign up at FSA offices now.

Times were tough for Missouri livestock farmers in 2012, the worst drought in decades. Pastures and hay fields dried up. Feed prices shot up. Worse, federal disaster programs for such times expired earlier.

Congressional passage of the 2014 Farm Bill reinstates disaster assistance. The new law covers drought and other loss.

The farm bill makes permanent four disaster programs. Two, the Livestock Forage Program and the Livestock Indemnity Program, can assist livestock farmers. Sign-up, which began April 15 at FSA offices, continues through this year.

Farmers with weather related losses of pastures or animals any time after Oct. 1, 2011, may be eligible for disaster aid. Under the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), farmers can be partially paid for feed cost during the drought. Payment level for a county depends on intensity of weather recorded on the U.S. Drought Monitor. A tool to show county eligibility is on the web at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/fsa/Home.aspx

A second program, Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), covers farms with livestock deaths in excess of normal due to weather. Eligible livestock includes beef and dairy cattle, bison, poultry, sheep, goats, swine, horses and others.

Producers can contact their FSA office for information and start compiling their records. To sign up, farmers must report livestock numbers owned as well as pasture acres owned and leased during the droughts. FSA staff will figure loss value based on head of livestock and pasture acres they have on file for the farm unit. Farmers can also report livestock that died due to weather. Photos, videos and receipts may help verify losses.

More information on disaster assistance is available on the Internet at www.fsa.usda.gov or at local FSA offices.

The 2014 farm bill makes other changes for Missouri crop, livestock and dairy farms. New regulations will come in months ahead. There is no sign-up for dairy or crop programs yet.

A University of Missouri Extension taskforce will help explain the new legislation. Information will be released as rules develop.