The USDA announced this past Friday that additional emergency relief payments may soon be coming for farmers and ranchers.

Livestock producers

Ranchers enrolled in the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), which paid out over $670 million in 2021, may be eligible for additional relief. These payments would come in the way of a new program, called the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) which addresses the increases in supplemental feed costs endured in 2021. LFP data will be leveraged to determine eligibility of relief, which will break out payments into two phases, with Phase 1 basing payments on the percentage of an eligible producers’ gross 2021 LFP payment.

To further expedite payments to eligible livestock producers, determine eligibility, and calculate an ELRP phase one payment, FSA will utilize livestock inventories and drought-affected forage acreage or restricted animal units and grazing days due to wildfire already reported by the producer when they submitted a 2021 CCC-853, Livestock Forage Disaster Program Application form.

No sign-ups are required, however, there will be a pay cap that will be released at a later date. Friday’s announcement is only Phase One of relief for livestock producers. FSA continues to evaluate and identify impacts of 2021 drought and wildfire on livestock producers to ensure equitable and inclusive distribution of much-needed emergency relief program benefits.

Crop producers

FSA is also developing a two-phased process to provide assistance to diversified, row crop and specialty crop operations that were impacted by an eligible natural disaster event in calendar years 2020 or 2021. Like the additional livestock relief payments, assistance for crop producers will be broken out into two phases:

≥≥ Phase one – determination of eligibility and calculating initial payments will leverage program data from the Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

≥≥ Phase 2 – will be intended to fill additional assistance gaps and cover eligible producers who did not participate in existing risk management programs.

Making the initial payments using existing safety net and risk management data will both speed implementation and further encourage participation in these permanent programs, including the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF), further strengthening the stance Congress is taking on the benefits of crop insurance. More details on this new relief is expected to be announced soon.

Additional Livestock Drought Assistance

Due to the persistent drought conditions in the Great Plains and West, FSA will be offering additional relief through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to help ranchers cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage. This policy enhancement complements previously announced ELAP compensation for hauling feed to livestock. Soon after FSA announced the assistance for hauling feed to livestock, stakeholders were quick to point out that producers also were hauling the livestock to the feed source as well and encouraged this additional flexibility. This ELAP livestock and feed hauling compensation will not only be retroactive for 2021 but will also be available for losses in 2022 and subsequent years. Contact your local FSA office for further information on this program.

Read more on the new relief assistance announced by the USDA.