Eligible farmers and ranchers can sign up for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. To be eligible for assistance, losses must have occurred on or after October 1, 2011.
"We implemented these programs in record time and kept our commitment to begin sign-up today," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. "To ensure enrollment goes as smoothly as possible, dedicated staff in over 2,000 Farm Service Agency offices across the country are doing everything necessary to help producers that have suffered through two and a half difficult years with no assistance because these programs were awaiting Congressional action."
Producers have three to nine months to apply depending on the program and year of the loss.
Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in one of four programs administered by the Farm Service Agency.
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) 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 including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have suffered losses because of disease, severe weather, blizzards and wildfires.
Enrollment also begins April 15 for the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), which provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.
In order to expedite applications, producers must provide documentation of losses and any other forms of identification requested by FSA to enroll in the program.
Examples of such documentation include:
- Photographs, video records, or other documentation of ownership and losses, including the number and kind of livestock lost.
- Dates of death, along with birth recordings or purchase receipts.
- Proof of costs of transporting livestock or other animals to new, safer areas.
- Feed purchase records, in the case of destroyed supplies or grazing pastures.
- Records including planting, production, and seed and fertilizer purchases.