Programs available for livestock producers |

Programs available for livestock producers

Livestock producers in most South Dakota counties are likely eligible for support under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and/or the Livestock Assistance and Livestock Indemnity Program. All of these programs are permanently funded programs moving forward, said Pennington County Farm Service Agency Director Jiggs O'Connell.

Those who lost cattle in 2013 spring blizzards or the October storm could consider the 2013 Livestock Indemnity Program. "Livestock producers might also want to consider filing an application for 2012-2013 Livestock Feed Program, and Emergency Livestock Assistance applications for 2012 and/or 2013 relating to feed losses or grazing losses," O'Connell said.

In most counties, July 24, 2012, and May 1, 2013, livestock accounting will be useful as well as a pre-Atlas October 3, 2013 livestock accounting, O'Connell said.

The Rapid City, S.D., USDA FSA manager said that producers may not realize the extent of help available under ELAP. "It covers grazing losses, feed loss, if your haystack was hit by lightening or they washed down the creek in a flood, those are eligible losses," O'Connell said. Another example of potential eligibility could be hay ground or forage that may or may not be covered under a federal insurance policy. He said if you have a smaller amount of loss than the 50 percent needed to trigger "NAP" coverage, that ELAP might help.

"Going forward in 2014 and in future years, producers will not be able to collect on both a NAP grazing loss and a LFP loss," O'Connell said. They will have the option to take the higher paying option. "Some would say, 'I don't need NAP any longer.' But I remind them that NAP is a multi peril policy for hail, drought and such. LFP is triggered by drought only."

It is very likely that payments for the livestock programs made after Sept., 30, 2014, will have a sequester reduction, so O'Connell recommends ranching folks stop in as soon as they can.

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Emergency Assistance for Livestock (ELAP)

Both livestock and forage that are not covered by other programs could fall under the ELAP program. According to USDA's fact sheet, ELAP covers losses due to an eligible adverse weather or eligible loss condition, including blizzards, disease (including cattle tick fever), water shortages and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary, which occurs on or after Oct. 1, 2011. ELAP covers losses that are not covered under other Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance Payment programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, specifically the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

The four categories of livestock losses covered by ELAP are as follows:

• Livestock death losses caused by an eligible loss condition;

• Livestock feed and grazing losses that are not due to drought or wildfires on federally managed lands;

• Losses resulting from the additional cost of transporting water to livestock due to an eligible drought;

• Losses resulting from the additional cost associated with gathering livestock for treatment related to cattle tick fever.

FSA determines the eligible loss conditions for livestock death losses and these loss conditions cannot be covered under LIP, explains the fact sheet.

Livestock Forage Disaster Program

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) is also now a permanent program. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses for covered livestock on native or non-native pasture with permanent vegetative cover or that planted specifically for grazing. The program is retroactive dating back to Oct. 1, 2011. The grazing losses must be due to a qualifying drought condition during the normal grazing period for the county. LFP also provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses on rangeland managed by a federal agency if the eligible livestock producer is prohibited by the federal agency from grazing the normal permitted livestock on the managed rangeland due to a qualifying fire.

To see which counties were designated as qualifying year-by-year, visit

Losses of beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep and many other species of livestock due to adverse weather could be compensated under the Livestock Indemnity Program.

"A lightning strike that kills a bull would in most cases qualify for compensation," O'Connell said.

"Going forward it is absolutely essential that producers report losses within 30 days. This can be a telephone call."

A loss of 1.5 percent is considered normal by USDA, but losses in excess of this amount might qualify if the losses were weather-related. Producers must apply for compensation within 60 days of the loss. This will change to a 30 day reporting window going forward, O'Connell said.

According to the official fact sheet, "In addition, LIP covers attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law, including wolves and avian predators. LIP payments are equal to 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock as determined by the Secretary.

LIP has also been made a permanent program and provides retroactive authority to cover eligible livestock losses back to Oct. 1, 2011.

A cap of $125,000 per year has been placed on the combined payments from the three programs, beginning with the year 2012. The rule for the 2011 payment cap is slightly different.

–staff report