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USDA Farm Service announces signup date for disaster assistance programs

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Julia A. Wickard has announced that farmers can sign up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, which began Tuesday, April 15.

“President Obama and Secretary Vilsack made it a priority to begin enrollment for these programs,” said FSA Administrator Juan M. Garcia. “For farmers who have been awaiting disaster assistance, help is on the way.”

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and respectively, including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Enrollment also begins on April 15 for producers with losses covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) in 2011, when the programs expired, through 2014.

“Indiana farmers have been waiting for new federal agricultural policy for about seven months, since the 2008 Farm Bill expired,” Wickard stated. “The launch of these disaster programs signals the start of new policy to assist American agriculture.”

ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, such as wildfires. TAP provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire.

“To expedite applications, all producers who experienced losses are encouraged to bring records documenting those losses to their local FSA county office,” said Wickard.

Producers also are encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment. 

For more information, producers are encouraged to review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, check out the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online or visit any USDA Service Center.