MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — An insurance program to help hard-pressed dairy farmers is expected to be ready for enrollment in June, the U.S. Farm Service Agency says, but farmers say it won’t tackle the underlying challenges they face.
Dairy farmers are in their fifth year of low milk prices that have driven thousands out of business.
“I’ve been in this for over 40 years and this is as bad as it’s ever gotten,” said Vermont dairy farmer Jacques Parent on Tuesday.
Describing the dairy farmers’ situation as urgent, 38 U.S. senators signed a letter late last month urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the insurance program quickly and work to educate farmers about their options.
The improved insurance program in the 2018 farm bill — called Dairy Margin Coverage — expands the coverage levels for farmers. They pay premiums and receive payments when the gap between milk prices and feed prices reach a certain level. The program was delayed by the 35-day partial government shutdown. Payments will be retroactive to January.
“USDA is working diligently to implement the DMC program and other programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce wrote in an email on Monday.
Still, the more time that passes, the harder it is for farmers.
“I think it’s frustrating, very frustrating because we’ve gone through this four-year drought in revenue and each month it gets put off the more disheartened producers become,” said Michigan dairy farmer Ken Nobis.
Consumer demand in some segments and unresolved trade issues that are harming exports and boosting surpluses are other issues challenging the dairy industry, a spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation has said.
For many years, dairy farmers went through a three-year cycle of a good year, a bad year and a mediocre year, Nobis said.
“Now we’re in our fifth year of below profitable levels of milk production, that’s pretty hard for anyone to withstand,” he said.
Higher tier coverage is available for smaller operations. Nobis, whose farm milks 1,000 cows, and Parent with 700 cows, would cap out early.
“It’s appreciated but it’s only a little Band Aid,” said Parent.
The bottom line is farmers don’t want a check from the government, said Nobis. “What we want is a viable market and that viable market … has been damaged dramatically by the trade issues that we didn’t ask for, frankly.”
LINCOLN, Neb., April 5, 2019 – USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Nancy Johner today announced additional flexibility to the emergency use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres that is authorized for all Nebraska counties.
The release of CRP acres for emergency use was authorized in late March to address the impacts of recent adverse weather.
“FSA has a variety of disaster assistance programs to support farmers and ranchers through times of adversity,” Johner said. “The emergency use of CRP acres provides an option for producers to temporarily move their livestock from locations negatively impacted by the flooding, snowmelt and mud.”
The emergency use authorization is effective through April 30, 2019. Nebraska FSA is clarifying today that producers who choose this option can use a full CRP field, not only half of a field’s acres, as originally noted. CRP contract holders who are interested in using this emergency authorization must contact their FSA county office to complete required paperwork before allowing use to begin.
“It is important for CRP contract holders to work with their FSA county office before moving their own livestock onto these acres or allowing another producer to move livestock there,” Johner said.
CRP participants who use this option will need to obtain a modified conservation plan, which includes emergency use provisions, from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). CRP participants can allow others to use their CRP acres under this emergency use authorization; however, the livestock owners also will need to complete FSA paperwork. There will be no reduction in CRP rental payments to CRP contract holders who use the emergency use authorization. CRP contract holders are not permitted to charge livestock producers for the emergency use option.
(LINCOLN, Nebraska) April 2, 2019 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Nancy Johner today announced that producers who suffered livestock losses due to a combination of extended cold and above-normal precipitation during the months of January, February and March may be eligible for assistance under the Livestock Indemnity Program(LIP). The deadline to submit a LIP Notice of Loss due to these weather circumstances is April 29, 2019.
“The Livestock Indemnity Program provides producers with a vital safety net to help them overcome the financial impact of extreme or abnormal weather,” said Johner. “Extended cold combined with above-normal precipitation during the months of January, February and early March created an adverse weather event that has had a significant impact on some livestock producers. We encourage them to reach out to our office by the April 29 notice of loss deadline.”
LIP compensates livestock owners and contract growers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to an adverse weather event. The payment rate is based on 75 percent of the average fair market value of the livestock.
A livestock producer must file a notice of loss within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is first apparent. Due to the abnormal conditions in January, February and March 2019, producers with livestock losses attributable to the combination of extended cold and above-normal precipitation have until April 29, 2019, to submit a notice of loss to FSA county offices. Livestock producers must provide evidence that the death of livestock was due to an eligible adverse weather event or loss condition.
Once a Notice of Loss is completed and approved by FSA, an application for payment can be completed by submitting supporting documents regarding beginning inventory and losses. This may include documentation showing the number and kind of livestock that died, photographs or video records to document the loss, purchase records, veterinarian records, production records and other similar documents.
Producers may apply for LIP benefits at their county FSA office. For more information on LIP, or to locate a county FSA office, visitwww.farmers.gov.
From UNL BeefWatch online magazine
The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather, including extreme cold, storms and flooding.
With the extreme weather conditions Nebraska has been experiencing this winter, it is important livestock producers diligently document and report their death losses for possible LIP payments.
To be eligible for LIP payments, a producer must file a notice of loss on form CCC-852 with his/her local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the death losses become apparent. The producer can then file an application for payment to request compensation for losses in excess of the normal annual mortality rate. This must be completed no later than March 1, 2020.
Multiple notices of losses and multiple applications for payment may be filed by producers that suffer multiple livestock losses during the same calendar year. Once a qualifying weather event has been identified, adult livestock dying within 60 days of that qualifying event can be considered eligible for loss benefits.
Good record-keeping habits should be part of the livestock manager’s DNA anyway, but it is at times like these that those habits can really pay dividends. The logical question to ask any producer submitting an LIP notice of loss and application for payment to an FSA office is, “How can you verify what you are trying to tell us?” Producers should provide records of the pertinent information regarding the livestock losses suffered due to an eligible adverse weather event, including things such as the number, kind, type and weight range of livestock that died, supplemented with dated photographs, video records, rendering receipts, or veterinarian records.
A photograph with a camera or smart phone showing the date the loss occurred can be a quick and simple record of the losses incurred. For calving losses, document death losses in your calving book with clear notes as to what exactly caused the death.
LIP payments are calculated based on eligible death losses in excess of normal annual mortality. Normal mortality rates are established by FSA on a state-by-state basis using recommendations from state livestock and Extension Service organizations. The normal mortality rates established for beef cattle in Nebraska are:
Adult: Cows and bulls, 1.5 percent
Non-adults: 800 pounds or more, 1 percent; 400 to 799 pounds, 2 percent; less than 400 pounds, 5 percent
Producers need accurate inventory counts showing the number and type of livestock that were affected by the eligible event. Beginning and ending year inventory numbers supplemented with production records, purchase records, sale records, veterinarian records, inventory related bank loan documentation, and other reliable documents can help verify livestock inventories at different points throughout the year.
It is important for producers to realize that normal death losses that occur throughout the year are equally important to document and verify. For example, suppose a Nebraska beef cattle producer owns 400 pregnant cows at the beginning of the calendar year. Veterinary records of the fall pregnancy check and the producer’s own inventory records would help verify this information. This producer’s normal annual mortality would be five cows and 20 calves based on the rates for the state of Nebraska. Following an eligible adverse weather event, the producer is able to verify the loss of four cows and twenty-two calves due to the event by filing a notice of loss on form CCC-852 with the local FSA office along with the supporting evidence.
Based on this information, the producer could file a request for compensation on two calves in excess of the normal mortality rate. However, the producer also documents normal death losses throughout the year that account for the loss of ten more calves and three cows.
In summary, the producer’s LIP application(s) for payment could then request compensation for 12 calves and two cows. This would be the amount the producer’s annual death losses would exceed normal mortality rates and be within the confines of the documented death losses attributed to the eligible weather event.
The LIP payment rates are based on 75 percent of the national market value of the livestock. For example, 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.
Also, contact your local FSA Office for more information on the LIP program.
(Video) ‘BOMB CYCLONE’; Damage and Looses from in Nebraska More than $1 Billion
Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP): This program financially assists producers when they suffer loss of livestock due to adverse weather. As producers assess their individual situations, whether it be the blizzard in the West or the flooding in the East, here are a couple of key things to keep in mind:
If you have suffered a loss of livestock, you need to report those losses to your FSA county office within 30 days of when those losses become apparent. This 30-day notification window is critical. A phone call to the county office works for this notification.
Keep in mind, outside of the immediate situations, some producers had some extreme weather in February where folks suffered livestock losses, so depending on when those losses occurred in February, that notification window is closing.
Documentation of losses also is critical. FSA will need some sort of supporting evidence of your losses, and this can include things such as: veterinarian certification, other independent third party certification, rendering receipts, dated photos or video. Those things are an important part of the application process.
FSA will also need to know the type or weight of the animals lost. Adult animals, so bulls and cows, vs. calves or yearlings, are broken out differently in the LIP program, so that part of the record is important.
Information about the specific weather conditions that caused the losses also is important.
Here is the link to the most recent Fact Sheet about LIP.
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP): This program covers some livestock losses that do not fall under the Livestock Indemnity Program. Specific to the current adverse weather situations in Nebraska, ELAP may be applicable as it can, in certain situations, financially assist with livestock feed losses, such as bales that may have been destroyed in the flood.
Here is the link to the most recent Fact Sheet about ELAP.
Emergency Conservation Program (ECP): ECP can provide some cost-share assistance to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. It also can provide cost-share assistance to help restore fences damaged or lost due to natural disaster. There is quite a bit to this program, and it doesn’t trigger automatically. FSA county committees will need to make a request for this program in their local areas. It is critical that producers, if they think they may want to access this cost-share resource, contact their county office about this program before taking any action to repair damages.