After just one week of sign-ups for the new farm bill’s livestock disaster programs, the Farm Service Agency already has received a total of 10,000 applications. In a hearing April 30, U.S. Department of Agriculture chief economist Joe Glauber noted that over 13,000 applications have been started for the program that lapsed in 2011.
According to the agency, approximately 95% were for the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), which provides payments to eligible producers for grazing losses. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the high number of applicants is “no surprise considering the widespread, ongoing drought that has plagued livestock producers in the West Coast and Midwestern portions of the United States for nearly three consecutive years.”
Vilsack added while the time for application processing and review will vary depending on the complexity and type of loss, the electronic payment and application systems are up and running. “Since sign up began [April 15], we have processed nearly 60% of incoming applications and approved payments to help nearly 6,000 producers begin the recovery process,” he said.
Glauber added that an estimated $8.5 million has already been approved and of that $4.5 million has already been transferred to producers’ bank accounts. USDA estimates a total of $2 billion could be paid out under the new farm bill provisions.
FSA will provide monthly updates at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov, including data by state, number of applications, and payments issued.