The USDA announced the implementation of two disaster assistance programs that will help ranchers and beekeepers recoup production losses as a result of drought and disease.
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program, or LFP, provides payments to eligible producers who suffered livestock grazing losses due to qualifying drought or fire between Jan. 1, 2008, and before Oct. 1, 2011.
Grant Buck, Ward County Farm Service Agency director, said several counties throughout the state, particularly in the western half of the state, suffered severe drought throughout much of the 2008 grazing season.
“Here in Ward County we experienced more than four weeks of D3 severe drought conditions,” he said. “Many other counties to our west experienced the same so I would expect every producer in the county and the west to apply for the program and receive payment.”
Those payments, which are based on either the monthly feed cost of grain or the capacity of the grazing land, comes out to approximately $17.97 per month per animal, Buck said.
For those counties that experienced more than four weeks of category three drought Bottineau, McHenry, Ward, McLean, Oliver, Morton, Grant and all those to the west producers are entitled to three months of payment, which comes out to roughly $53.91 per animal.
Producers in Rolette, Towner, Cavalier, Pierce and Sheridan counties all which experienced fewer than four weeks of category three drought are entitled to two months of payments.
There is no minimum loss required for payment, but producers need to certify their grazing loss and submit the paperwork within the 90-day sign-up period the FSA office has established, which began on Monday, September 7, 2009.
“Because most producers have already reported their grazing acres, producers only really need to bring in their livestock numbers for that timeframe,” Buck said. “As long as they have those numbers, the process shouldn’t be too much to deal with because the program is pretty straight forward.”
Qualifying animals for the LFP include beef and dairy cattle, alpacas, buffalo, beefalo, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep and swine.
Also announced on Monday was the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program, known as ELAP, which provides assistance to producers who suffered losses due to disease, adverse weather such as blizzards and wildfires, and other conditions not covered under the other disaster assistance programs outlined in the 2008 farm bill.
Buck said currently only beekeepers who suffered losses due to Colony Collapse Disorder would be eligible for this program because the other disaster assistance programs have covered other losses experienced recently by farmers and ranchers in the state.
For both programs, producers must have experienced the loss on or after Jan. 1, 2008, but before Oct. 1, 2011. There is a $100,000 cap per crop year. Individuals or entities are ineligible for payment if their adjusted gross income for the previous three years exceeds $2.5 million.
More detailed information pertaining to payment rates and dates, eligibility requirements and other program details will be announced Tuesday, but Buck encourages producers who are applying for either program to make an appointment with their respective FSA offices.