AFTER just one week of signups for the new farm bill's livestock disaster programs, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) already has received 10,000 applications.
In an April 30 hearing, U.S. Department of Agriculture chief economist Joe Glauber noted that more than 13,000 applications have been started for the programs, which lapsed in 2011. According to the agency, about 95% were for the Livestock Forage Program, which provides payments to eligible producers for grazing losses.
Agriculture Secretary 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 that 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 signup 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 in aid already has been approved, and $4.5 million of that already were transferred to producers' bank accounts. USDA estimates that a total of $2 billion could be paid out.
FSA will provide monthly updates at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov, including data by state, number of applications and payments issued.