FSA disaster relief available for livestock deaths in winter storm

Gail Ellis
OSU Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Ranchers who qualify for the federal Livestock Indemnity Program will receive reimbursement for 75% of the value of their deceased animals.

STILLWATER – Oklahoma producers who suffered livestock deaths during the recent winter storm may be eligible for federal disaster assistance. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), available through the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency, compensates commercial livestock owners for losses in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather.

As ranchers begin to assess damages from the deep freeze, death documentation will be required for LIP eligibility. In addition to photos, the program requires proof of beginning inventory, normal mortality documentation and a copy of the grower’s contracts, if applicable.

Amy Hagerman, an Oklahoma State University Extension ag policy specialist, said herd counts, loan statements and other bank records are likely valid forms of identification.

“The more documentation, the better, but if records are hard to come by, standard mortality rates set by USDA can be used to estimate excess losses,” Hagerman said. “Certainly, there are other things demanding producers’ attention right now, but they should document their losses as soon as they can.”

Although the application deadline for LIP funding is not until March 1, 2022, producers must notify their county FSA office of losses within 30 days. Supporting documentation must be provided no later than 60 days after the calendar year in which the eligible loss condition occurred. FSA county offices can answer questions about the process and will submit a producer’s official application.

Hagerman said Oklahoma has most commonly used the program for livestock losses related to wildfires, flooding, spring storms, lightning strikes and drought, but disaster assistance also applies to extreme cold, snow and ice.

“We will see documentation of calf losses in excess of normal mortality from this winter storm, and this program is always available to assist with reimbursement,” she said. “Funding is authorized for the full five years of the 2018 farm bill, and a state or national disaster declaration is not required to allocate payments.”

LIP eligible loss conditions include:

• Adverse weather.

• Disease caused by adverse weather.

• Attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law.

Qualifying producers will receive a portion (75%) of the value of the deceased livestock. FSA county committees can accept veterinarian certifications for deaths directly related to eligible disease or adverse weather incidents and unpreventable through quality management.

Hagerman discusses the Livestock Indemnity Program online.

For more information, contact the Oklahoma FSA office at 405-742-1130.