U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Louisiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, Craig A. McCain, reminds farmers and ranchers across the State and federal farm program benefits that may be available to help eligible producers recover from recent heavy rains and flooding.
“These significant rain and flood events which are ongoing across Louisiana have left extensive damage in their wake,” said McCain. “As such, 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 agriculture 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 (include 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, tornadoes, 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 of 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 contagious Secretarial Disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding.
• Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) – if damages warrant, this program provides emergency cost-share 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 lands, specifically ads announcing the availability of grazing land or ads requesting a need for land to graze. www.fsa.usda.gov/haynet.
To establish or retain FSA program eligibility, farmers and ranchers must report prevented planting and failed acres (crops and grasses). Prevented planting acreage must be reported on Form FSA-576, Notice of Loss, no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and Risk Management Agency (RMA). Reporting crop losses to FSA does not negate the need for producers suffering losses to report such losses to their crop insurance provider.
“Thankfully, 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,” said McCain. “Because of the Farm Bill, we, as an Agency, can quickly respond to the recovery needs of our producers.”
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 http://offices.usda.gov.