April 15, 2014. With the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, farmers and ranchers are eligible to sign up for qualifying USDA Disaster Assistance programs beginning today, April 15, 2014. There are multiple programs available and eligibility is usually determined by the type and size of the operation.
Of particular importance to ranchers impacted by the early season blizzards that ravaged the upper Midwest are the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. Both of these programs 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.
In order to expedite the application process the USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to collect the following information documenting their losses:
- Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses;
- Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts;
- Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures;
- Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed;
- Crop records, including seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records;
Information regarding eligibility for the USDA Disaster Assistance Program and the application process can be found at disaster.fsa.usda.gov.