Bonnie provides NCBA update on disaster assistance
Agriculture Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie on Thursday provided an update at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Cattle Industry Convention in Houston on forthcoming assistance for agricultural producers impacted by weather-related disasters in calendar years 2020 and 2021.
“Over the past two years, as agricultural producers have struggled with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been hard-hit by more frequent and more intense natural disasters,” Bonnie said, according to a USDA news release.
“With the help of Congress, USDA is working to deliver $10 billion in much-needed relief, including $750 million for livestock producers impacted by the severe drought.
“As we work to administer this assistance, we remain guided by our goals to streamline the application process to reduce the burden on producers, proactively include underserved producers who have been left out of past relief efforts and encourage participation in existing risk management tools that can help producers weather future extreme weather events.”
Bonnie said USDA will follow a two-phased process to administer relief to eligible livestock and crop producers, with the first phase utilizing a streamlined process that relies on existing data that producers have already reported to USDA.
For impacted ranchers, USDA will leverage Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) data to administer relief. FSA continues to tally 2021 LFP applications filed by the January 31, 2022, deadline, but early estimates show 74,000 applications totaling more than $500 million in payments to livestock producers under LFP. LFP provides up to 60% of the estimated replacement feed cost when drought adversely impacts grazing lands.
While LFP has provided a critical infusion of assistance for ranchers, widespread and severe drought conditions, especially in the Western and Plain states, last year drove prices for feed 50% or more above the feed cost formula, USDA said.
Phase one of the crop assistance program delivery will use existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program data as the basis for calculating initial payments, Bonnie said.
Making the initial payments using existing safety net and risk management data will both speed implementation and further encourage participation in these permanent programs, including the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Program, as Congress intended, Bonnie said.
–The Hagstrom Report
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