Important Disaster Programs for Pasture-Based Livestock Farmers
Producers incurring losses of livestock and damage to fences, pastures, hay, and feed as a result of Hurricane Florence need to use photos and maps to document the nature and extent of their losses in preparation for applying for disaster response programs.
Disaster Programs from Farm Services Agency Important to Pasture-Based Livestock Farmers Impacted by Hurricane Florence. 9-20-2018
As flood waters recede it is critical that farmers document losses they experienced as a result of Hurricane Florence. Damage to livestock, fences, and pastures should be documented both by a written affidavit describing the extent of the losses, and photos of the damage. Using maps to document locations of damage, high water level, etc will be most useful. It is also very helpful to have an independent third party (Extension Agent, Animal Control, Sheriff’s Deputy) document damage/loss or at least take some photos. Other programs will be available for producers of other agricultural commodities (crop insurance). This document is primarily intended for farmers raising pasture-based livestock including horses, beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, goats and other pastured species.
As soon as possible after the farm is accessible you should call your local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and let them know that you have experienced damage. They can advise you on how they want you to report the damage and fill out an application for help. With the amount of damage experienced in Florence, it is likely that some local offices may have been damaged, so the actual application process may vary with the county you are in. It is important that you notify FSA before you start making permanent repairs, and it is also important that you document all costs you incur during recovery.
Currently, there are authorized and funded programs available from USDA-FSA to pay for lost livestock, fix damaged fences, remove storm debris, and to pay for damage to hay, feed, and pasture forage. These programs are described here briefly. Fact sheets on each of these programs are available on the NC Disaster Information Center website.
Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). The LIP pays for livestock that were killed as a result of the storm. Eligibility is limited to livestock kept for commercial production and excludes animals kept as pets, for recreation (such as show animals). Most species of farm animals are eligible including cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, and a variety of exotic species. Payment rates are set at 75% of the national average value of these species, and a detailed payment schedule is available.
Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). The ECP pays for cleanup of storm debris and repair of direct damage to fences and farmland. Activities covered by ECP would include the removal of woody material, rocks, sand, trash, and other materials present on land as a result of the storm. It also will help pay for the repair of fences, and the repair of land through grading, shaping or leveling. It also will pay for the repair of damaged conservation structures such as ditches, and irrigation lines.
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey-bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). The ELAP pays for death loss, damage to pasture forage, and damage to hay, silage, and other feed. Loss of pasture forage is eligible up to 150 grazing days, and payment is for each day grazing was lost (2018 payment rate is $0.94/day). In most cases, flooding for more than a few days will result in a total loss of standing pasture forage. Hay losses are eligible on purchased hay or hay produced by the farmer for use in feeding their livestock. Hay still standing in the field and hay raised specifically for sale are not eligible. Feed damaged by the storm, whether purchased or home-grown is eligible. The payment rate for lost feed or harvested forage is 60% of the actual costs incurred by the farmer to purchase or produce these feedstuffs.