CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Agricultural operations in Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming have been significantly impacted by recent snowstorms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover from these adverse weather events.
Impacted producers should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.
“These recent winter storms have taken their toll on livestock producers in Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, leaving producers with snow removal costs as well as increased feed expenses,” said Robert Bonnie, undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We stand with our producers who have worked tirelessly in these severe conditions to keep livestock fed and to protect crops from Mother Nature’s wrath. We know these storms have left damage in their wake, and I’m glad that USDA offers a strong portfolio of disaster assistance programs available to help.”
USDA Disaster Recovery Assistance
Producers who experience livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program, or LIP. To participate in LIP, producers will have to provide acceptable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event and must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent.
Meanwhile, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, or ELAP, provides eligible producers with compensation for feed and grazing losses. ELAP also includes costs associated with equipment rental fees for hay lifts and snow removal. For ELAP, producers will need to file a notice of loss within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days.
Additionally, eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers may be eligible for cost-share assistance through the Tree Assistance Program, or TAP, to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes or vines lost. This complements the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or NAP, for crop insurance coverage, which covers the crop but not the plants or trees in all cases. For TAP, a program application must be filed within 90 days.
The FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed farm loans, including operating and emergency farm loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing. Producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Loans can help producers replace essential property; purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed; cover family living expenses; or refinance farm-related debts and other needs. Additionally, the FSA has a variety of loan servicing options available for borrowers who are unable to make scheduled payments on their farm loan program debt to the agency because of reasons beyond their control.
Producers who have risk protection through Federal Crop Insurance or FSA’s NAP should report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or FSA office. If they have crop insurance, producers should provide a notice of loss to their agent within 72 hours of initial discovery of damage and follow up in writing within 15 days.
For NAP-covered crops, a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be reported within 72 hours. A recent policy change simplifies the NAP application process for underserved producers, allowing form CCC-860 Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification to serve as an application for basic NAP coverage for all eligible crops. These producers will have all NAP-related service fees for basic coverage waived, in addition to a 50% premium reduction if higher levels of coverage are elected.
The FSA’s Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program can assist landowners and forest stewards with financial and technical assistance to restore fencing, damaged farmland or forests.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NRCS, is always available to provide technical assistance during the recovery process by assisting producers to plan and implement conservation practices on farms, ranches and working forests impacted by natural disasters. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program can help producers plan and implement conservation practices on land impacted by natural disasters.
Additional USDA disaster assistance information, including USDA resources specifically for producers impacted by winter storms, can be found on farmers.gov. Those resources include the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet and Loan Assistance Tool. For FSA and NRCS programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.
To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.