USDA Reminds Producers to Document Livestock Losses
As firefighters and state agencies continue their efforts to contain wildfires that have burned more than 1 million acres, affected ranchers and landowners are left to assess the damage and begin recovery. Hay donations are pouring in to the dedicated supply points, so short-term needs are being met. However, the state officials are asking those that are donating hay to be careful about transporting imported red fire ants in the hay. Bales kept on bare ground in an area of high fire ant populations should contact the Texas Department of Agriculture’s regional office for more information. Click here for more information…
The most immediate need in the burned areas is for fencing supplies. To donate hay, please contact a supply point listed below.
Texans Urged to Donate to STAR Fund
Texans who would like to help are urged to donate to the State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) Fund. Managed by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), the STAR Fund provides emergency assistance to Texas farmers and ranchers affected by disasters like the wildfires. Funded exclusively by private donations, STAR funds are often used to rebuild fences vital to livestock businesses, restore operations and pay for other agricultural disaster relief.
More information on the TDA’s STAR Fund program can be found here.
Livestock Supply Points
Area supply points have been established to collect donated hay and supplies. Each has been listed below. If you have hay that you can donate and transport, please contact the location directly. If you have hay and need to locate transportation, visit the TDA Hay Hotline
Supply Point 1 (Lipscomb County)
Lipscomb County Fairgrounds
202 West Main
Contact: J.R. Sprague, AgriLife Extension County Extension Agent
Supply Point 2 (Gray County)
Clyde Carruth Pavillion
301 Ball Park Drive
Contact: Mike Jeffcoat, AgriLife Extension County Agent
Supply Point 3 (Hemphill County)
100 Hackberrry Trail
Canadian, TX 79011
Contact: Andy Hollowa, AgriLife Extension County Extension Agent
Waiver Granted to Transporters of Hay to Burned Areas
Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter Thursday to the chairman of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV) suspending the permitting requirements, legal height restrictions and associated permit fees for carriers transporting round bales of hay to Carson, Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Potter, Roberts and Wheeler counties. This waiver applies to these eight counties, as well as any Texas county through which transport is necessary to reach the disaster response area.
To ensure the safety of the traveling public, TXDMV will require carriers transporting loads exceeding 14 feet in height to contact the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Motor Carrier Division at 800-299-1700.
To read the full letter, click here.
TDA also oversees the Hay Hotline to facilitate buying or selling hay statewide. Those interested in making a hay donation for disaster relief or need to find transportation for hay can go here for more information.
For questions about carcass disposal call the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) at 800-832-8224 or visit their website at www.tceq.texas.gov.
Lost or Found Livestock
If you find cattle or other livestock with official identification, document the number, location of the animal(s), and call the TAHC at 512-719-0733 or 806-354-9335 and TAHC will contact the owner. If you find stray cattle that have a brand, call Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) at 817-332-7064 for brand identification.
If cattle have strayed onto your property, you must report them to the sheriff’s office in the county you are located in within five days of discovery to be eligible for reasonable payment for maintenance of or damages caused by the estray livestock. For more information regarding Texas’ estray laws, click here.
Document Livestock Losses
Agriculture producers who have suffered livestock and property losses in the recent wildfires are urged to file a Notice of Loss with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to begin the federal assistance process. A Notice of Loss must be filed within 30 days of the time of the loss by phone or in person at a local USDA county service center. County service center locations can be found on their website at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.
To qualify, you must have legally owned the eligible livestock, poultry, or swine on the day they died, and they must:
- Have died due to an eligible weather event on or after Oct. 1, 2011, and no later than 60 days from the end date of the event.
- Have been for commercial use in a farming operation on the day they died.
- Have died in the calendar year of requested benefits.
The program excludes wild, free-roaming animals, or pets or animals used for recreational purposes, like for hunting, roping, or show.
You must have had possession and control of the livestock and a written agreement with the livestock owner. The specific terms, conditions, and obligations of both parties must be set.
The following resources and information have been provided by the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC).
Agriculture Indemnity Program
Several programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill provide benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths due to wildfires and other natural disasters.
- The Livestock Indemnity Program provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather or disasters.
- The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock losses that are not covered under other disaster assistance programs.
- For more details, contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA county office, visit www.offices.usda.gov. To learn more about FSA disaster assistance programs, visit www.disaster.fsa.usda.gov.