before Oct. 1
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Julia A. Wickard encourages producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by September 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted by that date. Livestock producers who have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible.
The Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires USDA to implement reductions of 7.3 percent to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in the new fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2014. However, producers seeking LFP support who have scheduled appointments with their local FSA office before October 1, even if the appointment occurs after Oct. 1, will not see reductions in the amount of disaster relief they receive.
“All livestock producers who experienced forage losses during the summer of 2012 drought are eligible to apply for this Farm Bill program,” said Wickard. “If a producer believes they suffered a livestock grazing loss in 2012, they should contact their local FSA office by September 30 and have their name added to an appointment calendar. A producer’s payment will be impacted by sequestration beginning October 1.”
USDA is encouraging producers to register, request an appointment or begin an LFP application with their county FSA office before October 1, 2014, to lock in the current 0 percent sequestration rate. As an additional aid to qualified producers applying for LFP, FSA has developed an online registration that enables farmers and ranchers to put their names on an electronic list before the deadline to avoid reductions in their disaster assistance payments. This online register is an alternative to visiting or contacting the county office. To place a name on the LFP online register, visit http://www. fsa.usda.gov/disaster-register.
Producers who already contacted the county office and have an appointment scheduled need do nothing more.
“In just four months since disaster assistance enrollments began, we've processed 240,000 applications to help farmers and ranchers who suffered losses,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Eligible producers who have not yet contacted their local FSA office should stop by or call their local FSA office, or sign up online before October 1 when congressionally mandated payment reductions take effect. This will ensure they receive as much financial assistance as possible.”
The Livestock Indemnity Program, the Tree Assistance Program and the Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program Frost Freeze payments will also be cut by 7.3 percent on October 1, 2014. Unlike the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, applications for these programs must be fully completed by September 30. FSA offices will prioritize these applications, but as the full application process can take several days or more to complete, producers are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program compensates eligible livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire between October 1, 2011 and December 31, 2014. Eligible livestock includes alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep or swine that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland. Producers forced to liquidate their livestock may also be eligible for program benefits.
Additionally, the 2014 Farm Bill eliminated the risk management purchase requirement. Livestock producers are no longer required to purchase coverage under the federal crop insurance program or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to be eligible for Livestock Forage Disaster Program assistance.
To learn more about USDA disaster relief program, producers can review the 2014 Farm Bill fact sheet at www.fsa.usda.gov/farmbill, the LFP program fact sheet, http://go.usa.gov/5JTk, or contact their local FSA office.
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.