USDA says livestock disaster assistance payments will be distributed by March and crop producers will see payments yet this spring. For qualifying producers, USDA will leverage Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) data to distribute the payments. LFP is a tool that provides up to 60% of the estimated replacement feed cost when drought impacts grazing land. Early estimates show 74,000 applications have been received, totaling more than $500 million in payments. Widespread and severe drought conditions last year drove feed prices 50% or more above the feed cost formula.

The program is using a phased approach where phase one will make the initial payment for crop and livestock producers and phase two of both programs will fill additional assistance gaps to cover producers who were eligible and did not participate. This phased approach will help farmers as they determine their level of participation for the year in crop insurance programs such as Pasture, Rangeland Forage (PRF).

Read more on the disaster assistance program here.