U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Judith A. Canales and Oklahoma FSA Executive Director Francie Tolle reminds farmers and ranchers of federal farm program benefits that may be available to help eligible producers recover from recent heavy rains and flooding.
According to the National Weather Service, Texas has received 35 trillion gallons of rain, enough to cover the entire state in eight inches of water, in the month of May. Many farmers and ranchers are experiencing prevented planting, failed acres, displaced and deceased livestock, and property damage.
FSA offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers in their recovery efforts following floods or similar qualifying natural disasters. Available programs and loans include:
- Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) – provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters (includes native grass for grazing). Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for 2015 crops.
- Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) – offers payments to eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible losses may include those determined by FSA to have been caused by hurricanes, floods, blizzards, wildfires, tropical storms, tornados lightening, extreme heat, and extreme cold. Producers will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event and must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent.
- Tree Assistance Program (TAP) – provides assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers for qualifying tree, shrub and vine losses due to natural disaster.
- Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) – provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs. ELAP covers physically damaged or destroyed livestock feed that was purchased or mechanically harvested forage or feedstuffs intended for use as feed for the producer’s eligible livestock. In order to be considered eligible, harvested forage must be baled; forage that is only cut, raked or windrowed is not eligible. Producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent.
For beekeepers, ELAP covers beehive losses (the physical structure) in instances where the hive has been destroyed by a natural disaster including flooding, high winds and tornadoes.
- Emergency Loan Program – Available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding.
- Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) – provides emergency funding for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate land severely damaged by natural disasters; includes fence loss.
- HayNet – is an Internet-based Hay and Grazing Net Ad Service allowing farmers and ranchers to share ‘Need Hay’ ads and ‘Have Hay’ ads online. Farmers also can use another feature to post advertisements for grazing land, specifically ads announcing the availability of grazing land or ads requesting a need for land to graze.www.fsa.usda.gov/haynet.
The 2014 Farm Bill reinstated these safety-net programs for farmers and ranchers suffering the devastating impacts of natural disasters such as this epic flood.
For more information on disaster assistance programs and loans visit www.fsa.usda.gov or contact your local FSA Office. To find your local FSA county office, visit offices.usda.gov.
Sources: USDA FSA Texas | USDA FSA Oklahoma