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Protecting ranchers from fire or drought

The new Livestock Forage Disaster Program provides compensation to livestock producers who have suffered losses from qualifying disasters


The 2014 Farm Bill has identified the Livestock Forage Disaster Program as a permanent program, providing the Farm Service Agency retroactive authority to grant compensation to livestock producers who have suffered losses due to a qualifying drought or fire.

The bills inclusion of LFP provides payments for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the 2011 expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs. The program provides compensation for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014 as well.

Cameron Kirsch, county executive director for the Deschutes County FSA, which services Crook County, said that his agency has begun receiving claims.

“For drought conditions, we have declared producers to be eligible as of June 9, 2014,” he said. “For our area of coverage it is important for producers to understand that we are not offering retroactive compensation prior to that date for losses due to drought.”

For fire-related claims, Kirsch noted that compensation is retroactive to 2011, and covers wildfires on private and federally managed land. Losses due to fire are compensated at 50 percent of the monthly feed cost for the number of days lost, not to exceed 180.

According to the program, losses must have occurred on land that is native, improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover, or land planted specifically for grazing.

For drought-related claims, payment is tied to the applicable drought declaration for the county during its normal grazing period, which for Crook County is April 15 through Oct. 15.

Since Crook County has been declared to be part of a severe drought area, the FSA office is offering a single month payment to compensate producers for alternate feeding methods.

“We would like to hear from anyone who grazes in dryland pastures,” said Kirsch. “Our agency has established a feed cost for each particular livestock and we will pay 60 percent of that figure,” he explained.

As an example, for 2014 losses, compensation for dairy cattle would pay $82 per head, per monthly payment, while losses for sheep of all types would yield a payment of $7.88 per head per month.

Claims for losses incurred through Dec. 31, 2014 must be filed by Jan. 30, 2015, at the Redmond FSA center. For subsequent years, claims are due within 30 calendar days after the end of the year in which the losses were incurred.

“We need to have all copies of leases, so we can map them and determine the acreage,” said Kirsch. “We would also need records of the livestock that was in inventory at the time.”

Kirsch added that there is a third program available to compensate for lost livestock.

“The livestock indemnity program provides coverage for any livestock that have died from a weather-related event,” he said. “That would include last December’s hard freeze, for example. We would pay 75 percent of the value of the livestock lost.”

Crook County resident claims should be filed with the FSA office in Redmond, located at 625 S.E. Salmon Ave, Bldg. A. Their phone number is 541-923-4358.



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