Disaster assistance program open to livestock farmers

Apr. 16, 2014 @ 05:24 PM

Vance County livestock farmers can start applications for USDA reimbursement of any disaster-related losses dating back to 2011.

The Farm Service Agency opened the application process for farmers who endured drought, fire or adverse weather that affected production since the expiration of various USDA assistance programs in previous years.

“In 2012, we had pretty severe drought,” said Paul McKenzie, a Vance County Cooperative Extension agent. “Pastures that farmers used to produce food for their animals and crops for hay would have suffered. This program provides assistance for that.”

Under a 2014 farm bill, the USDA has allotted a limit of $125,000 per farmer or farming entity under the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forest Disaster Program for losses.

The funds can provide reimbursement for grazing losses, cattle deaths or hay shortages related to natural disasters.

This year, the bill revamped to provide assistance to participants of expired programs, such as the Emergency Assistance of Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program and the Tree Assistance Program, where funds were not available after 2011.

The bill has expanded to include non-affiliated farmers as well.

“You do not have to participate in any of the programs to be eligible,” said Christeen Crudup, county executive director for the Farm Service Agency and overseer of the assistance project in Vance and Warren counties.

She said the reimbursement applications will be an ongoing opportunity for the community until another farm bill emerges.

“It will benefit the livestock community,” Crudup said. “If they have any losses then it will help them purchase hay for cattle. Assistance is very much needed for that.”

Applicants must apply at the Farm Service Agency office and provide proof of their losses.

The program will expand to help crop producers later in the year.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.