By Janan Lenzy, NFU Intern

Abnormal weather patterns have increasingly made livestock producers vulnerable to reduced outputs. Previously on the Climate Column, we’ve discussed tools developed by the U.S. Department Agriculture (USDA) that assist farmers with preparations for droughts and higher temperatures, but there are also programs that provide financial compensation and assistance for extreme climate-induced economic challenges.

Livestock death is one such event that can negatively impact an operation’s bottom line. Livestock producers experiencing increased livestock mortality rates caused by more frequent and more severe weather conditions and natural disaster occurrences may be eligible to acquire assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

Producers who have experienced livestock loss due to inclement weather conditions such as flooding, snow storms, and intense heat, or due to attack by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law, may be eligible for LIP payments. Indirect deaths may qualify as well, including deaths caused by infections and diseases that are exacerbated by certain weather conditions. Eligible producers must be the legal owner of the animal prior to the animal’s death, and must report the event within 60 days of the death.

LIP payments amount to “75 percent of market value of the animal type on the day before the animal’s death.” The use of the animal is also taken in to consideration when calculating the payment. For example, the loss of animals bred for commercial profit may be covered, while pets and animals used for recreation are not.

Because applying and receiving LIP payments can be a time-consuming process and not thoroughly reliable for covering all lost costs, livestock producers should be proactive in adopting practices that prevent livestock deaths and avoid dependence on LIP. Building vertical structures on pasturelands is one way to provide cover and reduce animals’ exposure to direct sunlight and precipitation. Adoption of silvopasture, which combines trees with forage and livestock production, is one way to provide shelter. Another method of loss prevention is building healthy soils, which improves infiltration and ultimately limits moisture accumulation and reduces chances of disease transmission.

Producers interested in checking eligibility for and learning more information about LIP payments can visit Federal Natural Disaster Assistance Programs for Livestock Producers, 2008-16. If you identify as a producer struggling to feed your livestock on account of forage losses caused by fires or droughts, you may be interested in the Livestock Forage Program (LFP).

Click here to review the LIP payment application online (Form CCC 852). Click here to locate a Farm Service Agency (FSA) office near you and request Form CCC 852. Documents that provide evidence to claims need to accompany the application during submission.

Have you utilized LIP to reap financial relief after a natural disaster strike? How was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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