USDA Provides Disaster Assistance to Minnesota Farmers and Cattle Ranchers Affected by Drought
As agricultural producers enter recovery mode and assess damage, they should contact their local USDA service center. to report losses and learn more about program options available to help them recover from loss and damage to crops, land, infrastructure and livestock, according to a USDA press release.
“Unfortunately, conditions continue to deteriorate across Minnesota, with more than half of the state experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions,” said Gloria Montaño Greene, assistant under secretary for crop production and conservation. (FPAC). “I am grateful that the USDA can step in with disaster assistance programs designed to alleviate some of the financial impact suffered by agricultural producers suffering from drought losses.”
USDA Disaster Assistance for Drought Recovery
Producers who experience livestock deaths and food losses from natural disasters may be eligible for the Livestock, Bee and Fish Emergency Assistance Program (ELAP). This program also provides compensation to eligible producers for expenses associated with transporting water to livestock physically located in a county designated as “D3 Drought – Extreme” according to the US Drought Monitor. For ELAP, producers will be required to file a notice of livestock loss within 30 days and honey bee losses within 15 days of onset of loss.
Ranchers who have experienced grazing losses due to drought in 2021 may be eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP). A map of counties eligible for LFP drought can be found on the FSA website.
In addition, emergency haymaking and grazing of CRP acres may be permitted (outside of the primary nesting season) to assist cattle ranchers in areas affected by severe drought or similar natural disaster. Emergency haymaking and grazing status is reviewed and cleared every Thursday using the US Drought Monitor. Counties are approved for emergency haymaking and grazing due to drought conditions, county by county, when a county is designated as “D2 Drought – Severe” according to the US Drought Monitor.
Eligible orchards and nurserymen may be eligible for cost-shared assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, shrubs or vines lost during drought. This complements the Uninsured Agricultural Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) or crop insurance coverage, which covers the crop but not the plants or trees in all cases. For TAP, a program request must be submitted within 90 days.
“Be sure to contact your local FSA office to timely report all crop, livestock and farm losses due to drought or other natural disasters as soon as you become aware of them,” Michelle said. Page, Acting Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Minnesota. “To expedite FSA disaster assistance, you will likely need to provide documentation, such as farm records, a herd inventory, receipts, and photos of damage or loss.”
FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed loans, including operational and emergency loans, to producers unable to obtain commercial financing. Producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Loans can help producers replace essential goods, buy inputs such as livestock, equipment, feed and seeds, cover family living costs, or refinance farm and farm debts. other needs.
Growers who receive risk protection through federal crop insurance or FSA’s NAP should report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or FSA office, respectively. If they have crop insurance, growers must report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of discovery of damage and follow up in writing within 15 days. For crops covered by PAN, a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed within 15 days of the onset of the loss, except for crops harvested by hand, which must be reported within 72 hours.
Additionally, the RMA authorized emergency procedures earlier this month to help agricultural producers affected by extreme drought conditions. Emergency procedures allow insurance companies to accept delayed loss notices in certain situations, streamline paperwork, and reduce the number of representative samples required when damage is constant. Read more in RMA’s press release of July 13, 2021.
FSA offers the Emergency Conservation Program (PCE) and Emergency Forest Restoration Program to help landowners and forest stewards with financial and technical assistance to restore damaged fences, farmland or forests.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also offers programs to aid the recovery process. The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) can help producers plan and implement conservation practices on farms, ranches and logged forests affected by natural disasters. Practices include brush management, livestock watering facilities, prescribed grazing, etc.
Long-term damage from drought includes loss of forage production in pastures and fields and increased wind erosion on cultivated fields not protected by soil health practices.
“The USDA NRCS can be a valuable partner in assisting landowners in their farm recovery and resilience efforts,” said Troy Daniell, state ecologist for NRCS in Minnesota. “Our staff will work one-on-one with landowners to assess damage and develop conservation-based approaches that focus on effective land reclamation.”
On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster at-a-Glance Factsheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and homeowners land tenure to determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, growers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA service center.