FSA programs explained: Drought assistance for livestock producers | TSLN.com

FSA programs explained: Drought assistance for livestock producers

For the Feb. 19, 2011 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

I recently had the chance to speak with a group of ranchers at the 34th Annual Ranchers Forum in Faith, SD. I was happy to have the opportunity to speak about Livestock Disaster Programs authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. One of the programs that I highlighted was the Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program (LFP), which I like to refer to as the drought assistance program. I refer to LFP as the “drought assistance program” because the program was designed to compensate producers for grazing losses incurred due to drought and grazing losses due to fire on federally managed land.

LFP, or the drought assistance program, is my favorite program by its design. The program provides compensation for grazing losses quickly and when it is needed most – during periods of drought. Through this program, livestock producers can earn up to three payments for their grazing losses depending upon the severity of the drought. The severity of the drought is determined utilizing the drought monitor found at http://drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html.

The drought monitor breaks down the severity of a drought into four different categories: D0 – abnormally dry; D1 – moderate drought; D2 – severe drought; D3 – extreme drought; and D4 – exceptional drought. The first payment is triggered by a D2 – severe drought in the county for eight consecutive weeks. The second payment is triggered by a D3 – extreme drought. The third payment is triggered by a D3 – extreme drought for four weeks (non-consecutive) or a D4 – exceptional drought. Payments are triggered by counties and are limited to drought during the normal grazing period as established by the Farm Service Agency County Committee. In Meade County, SD, the normal grazing season runs from May 1 through October 31.

Payments are calculated at 60 percent of the lesser of the FSA established cost per head of eligible livestock ($35.37[adult beef] per head in 2010) or FSA established cost of the value of your insured grazing land (Insured acres/FSA established carrying capacity x $35.37 in 2010). For example a producer that owns 250 head of cows and owns and insures 5,000 acres of pasture could expect one payment to equal $5,306 (250 x $35.37 = $8,842.50)<[(5,000/13) x $35.37 = $13,603.85] (60% x $8,842.50 = $5306). In this example, this producer would be eligible for up to three payments of $5,306 depending upon the severity of drought.

If a county becomes eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program, producers physically located in that county have until 30 days after the end of the calendar year to file an application for payment with their Farm Service Agency Service Center.

If you have read this far and like what you hear in terms of benefits available, be aware of several requirements that could leave you ineligible for compensation or reduce your benefits. First of all, ensure that you are insuring your crops intended for grazing. Only your acres insured will be used in determining your compensation. This can be accomplished by purchasing catastrophic coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program or NAP or by purchasing Pasture Range and Forage Insurance if offered through Federal Crop Insurance in your area.

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Another important step that you should take is to ensure that the livestock owner is listed as the operator of the grazing land. I have seen several cases where a land owning entity will be certified as the operator of the land and will purchase NAP coverage; however the livestock are owned and operated by an individual. If this is the case, neither the land owning entity nor the individual will be eligible under LFP. In order to be eligible under LFP, you must own livestock, be listed as the operator of pasture land and insure that pasture land.

I recently had the chance to speak with a group of ranchers at the 34th Annual Ranchers Forum in Faith, SD. I was happy to have the opportunity to speak about Livestock Disaster Programs authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. One of the programs that I highlighted was the Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program (LFP), which I like to refer to as the drought assistance program. I refer to LFP as the “drought assistance program” because the program was designed to compensate producers for grazing losses incurred due to drought and grazing losses due to fire on federally managed land.

LFP, or the drought assistance program, is my favorite program by its design. The program provides compensation for grazing losses quickly and when it is needed most – during periods of drought. Through this program, livestock producers can earn up to three payments for their grazing losses depending upon the severity of the drought. The severity of the drought is determined utilizing the drought monitor found at http://drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html.

The drought monitor breaks down the severity of a drought into four different categories: D0 – abnormally dry; D1 – moderate drought; D2 – severe drought; D3 – extreme drought; and D4 – exceptional drought. The first payment is triggered by a D2 – severe drought in the county for eight consecutive weeks. The second payment is triggered by a D3 – extreme drought. The third payment is triggered by a D3 – extreme drought for four weeks (non-consecutive) or a D4 – exceptional drought. Payments are triggered by counties and are limited to drought during the normal grazing period as established by the Farm Service Agency County Committee. In Meade County, SD, the normal grazing season runs from May 1 through October 31.

Payments are calculated at 60 percent of the lesser of the FSA established cost per head of eligible livestock ($35.37[adult beef] per head in 2010) or FSA established cost of the value of your insured grazing land (Insured acres/FSA established carrying capacity x $35.37 in 2010). For example a producer that owns 250 head of cows and owns and insures 5,000 acres of pasture could expect one payment to equal $5,306 (250 x $35.37 = $8,842.50)<[(5,000/13) x $35.37 = $13,603.85] (60% x $8,842.50 = $5306). In this example, this producer would be eligible for up to three payments of $5,306 depending upon the severity of drought.

If a county becomes eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program, producers physically located in that county have until 30 days after the end of the calendar year to file an application for payment with their Farm Service Agency Service Center.

If you have read this far and like what you hear in terms of benefits available, be aware of several requirements that could leave you ineligible for compensation or reduce your benefits. First of all, ensure that you are insuring your crops intended for grazing. Only your acres insured will be used in determining your compensation. This can be accomplished by purchasing catastrophic coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program or NAP or by purchasing Pasture Range and Forage Insurance if offered through Federal Crop Insurance in your area.

Another important step that you should take is to ensure that the livestock owner is listed as the operator of the grazing land. I have seen several cases where a land owning entity will be certified as the operator of the land and will purchase NAP coverage; however the livestock are owned and operated by an individual. If this is the case, neither the land owning entity nor the individual will be eligible under LFP. In order to be eligible under LFP, you must own livestock, be listed as the operator of pasture land and insure that pasture land.

I recently had the chance to speak with a group of ranchers at the 34th Annual Ranchers Forum in Faith, SD. I was happy to have the opportunity to speak about Livestock Disaster Programs authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. One of the programs that I highlighted was the Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program (LFP), which I like to refer to as the drought assistance program. I refer to LFP as the “drought assistance program” because the program was designed to compensate producers for grazing losses incurred due to drought and grazing losses due to fire on federally managed land.

LFP, or the drought assistance program, is my favorite program by its design. The program provides compensation for grazing losses quickly and when it is needed most – during periods of drought. Through this program, livestock producers can earn up to three payments for their grazing losses depending upon the severity of the drought. The severity of the drought is determined utilizing the drought monitor found at http://drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html.

The drought monitor breaks down the severity of a drought into four different categories: D0 – abnormally dry; D1 – moderate drought; D2 – severe drought; D3 – extreme drought; and D4 – exceptional drought. The first payment is triggered by a D2 – severe drought in the county for eight consecutive weeks. The second payment is triggered by a D3 – extreme drought. The third payment is triggered by a D3 – extreme drought for four weeks (non-consecutive) or a D4 – exceptional drought. Payments are triggered by counties and are limited to drought during the normal grazing period as established by the Farm Service Agency County Committee. In Meade County, SD, the normal grazing season runs from May 1 through October 31.

Payments are calculated at 60 percent of the lesser of the FSA established cost per head of eligible livestock ($35.37[adult beef] per head in 2010) or FSA established cost of the value of your insured grazing land (Insured acres/FSA established carrying capacity x $35.37 in 2010). For example a producer that owns 250 head of cows and owns and insures 5,000 acres of pasture could expect one payment to equal $5,306 (250 x $35.37 = $8,842.50)<[(5,000/13) x $35.37 = $13,603.85] (60% x $8,842.50 = $5306). In this example, this producer would be eligible for up to three payments of $5,306 depending upon the severity of drought.

If a county becomes eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program, producers physically located in that county have until 30 days after the end of the calendar year to file an application for payment with their Farm Service Agency Service Center.

If you have read this far and like what you hear in terms of benefits available, be aware of several requirements that could leave you ineligible for compensation or reduce your benefits. First of all, ensure that you are insuring your crops intended for grazing. Only your acres insured will be used in determining your compensation. This can be accomplished by purchasing catastrophic coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program or NAP or by purchasing Pasture Range and Forage Insurance if offered through Federal Crop Insurance in your area.

Another important step that you should take is to ensure that the livestock owner is listed as the operator of the grazing land. I have seen several cases where a land owning entity will be certified as the operator of the land and will purchase NAP coverage; however the livestock are owned and operated by an individual. If this is the case, neither the land owning entity nor the individual will be eligible under LFP. In order to be eligible under LFP, you must own livestock, be listed as the operator of pasture land and insure that pasture land.

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