In the aftermath of the bomb cyclone that swept across the Midwest last week, rural communities are dealing with the effects of massive flooding — underwater homes and businesses, lives lost, roads destroyed and livestock in need of feed and forages.
In the weeks to come, these communities will be bracing for more as snow from the northern states begins to melt and flow to the flood plain.
While there are many volunteers, donations and programs dedicated to helping these communities battle through these challenges, another topic I want to touch on is the need for producers to report death loss of livestock to receive available coverage.
The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), which was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, provides benefits to eligible livestock owners or contract growers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by eligible loss conditions. These conditions include eligible adverse weather, eligible disease and eligible attacks.
An eligible weather event would certainly include the bomb cyclone but would also be any other abnormal damaging weather event such as earthquakes, hail, lightning, tornado, tropical storm, typhoon, winter storm (if longer than three consecutive days and accompanied by wind, freezing rain, sleet, heavy snowfall and cold temperatures), hurricanes, floods, blizzards, wildfires, extreme cold, extreme heat or straight-line winds. Drought does not apply.
Eligible diseases are illnesses that are exacerbated by eligible adverse weather events such as anthrax, cyanobacteria and larkspur poisoning, just to name a few.
And eligible attacks include losses from wolves and avian predators.
LIP payments are based on 75% of the current market value as determined by the USDA secretary. Amendments to the original LIP were made in February 2018 and remove the maximum per person and legal entity payment limitation and provide compensation in the event that livestock are injured by an eligible loss condition (but not killed) and are sold for a reduced price.
So what does it take to be eligible for the LIP? Is it even worth the paperwork and hassle to file?
To be eligible, a livestock owner must have legally owned the livestock on the day the livestock died and/or were injured by an eligible loss condition.
An owner’s livestock must have either died in excess of normal mortality as a direct result of an eligible loss condition or been injured as a direct result of an eligible loss condition and were sold at a reduced price.
Livestock must have been maintained for commercial use as part of the farming operation and exclude wild free-roaming animals, pets or recreational animals (hunting, roping or show).
So how do producers get compensated for loss?
Once eligibility has been verified, producers have 30 days following the loss to report and file a claim. Payments are made based on 75% of the average fair market value and multiple by the number of losses sustained by the producer.
To get an idea of payments, Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska-Lincoln farm and ranch management specialist, explains, “The 2018 payment rate for a cow would have been $983.90 per head and a calf under 400 pounds would have been $468.92 per head. Payment rates have not yet been set for 2019 losses, but still are a potentially important cost recovery from the financial impacts of losing a larger than normal number of animals.”
In the days moving forward, it will be critical for producers to keep accurate records to document the losses and illnesses following this devastating weather event. A third-party verification from a veterinarian would certainly be helpful as well, when going to your local FSA office to file a claim.
For more on the LIP program, read the fact sheet here.
Additional information about disaster relief assistance can be found here.
Here is another list of available resources for communities impacted by the storm.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.