Help For Hard Times: USDA Disaster Programs

A dry year presented quite a few challenges to producers in 2022.  Jay Parsons, Risk Management Specialist with UNL Ag Econ recently shared some thoughts and a reminder to producers of available assistance from USDA programs that may be beneficial.

Dr. Parson shares: The 2014 Farm Bill permanently authorized three livestock disaster assistance programs: (1) the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); (2) the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); and (3) the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP). Producers interested in more information and/or completing an application for assistance under any of these programs should contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.

LFP can provide livestock owners and contract growers with financial compensation for grazing losses from drought or fire. This may apply to native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or certain crops planted specifically for grazing. Drought severity and eligibility for LFP payments is determined by county-based U.S. Drought Monitor classification and the period under that classification. Assistance ranges from one monthly payment to five monthly payments. For example, a severe drought (D2) for eight consecutive weeks during the normal grazing period qualifies livestock producers with native pasture in the county to one monthly payment. An exceptional drought (D4) classification for any four weeks during the grazing period qualifies those same producers for five monthly payments.

Nebraska experienced extreme and exceptional drought in 2022. Across the state, 72 of the 93 counties in Nebraska are currently eligible for LFP drought assistance of some degree. Producers requesting LFP assistance must complete an application for payment and submit supporting documentation to FSA by January 30, 2023.

The LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock death losses exceeding normal annual mortality due to adverse weather, such as blizzards, floods, extreme heat, extreme cold, wildfires, tornados, and lightning. Producers must file a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 days of the adverse event and have until March 1 to complete an application for payment.

ELAP provides emergency assistance to cover losses due to adverse weather, including blizzards and wildfires, not covered by other disaster assistance programs. The USDA recently expanded ELAP to help cover the cost of transporting feed to livestock or livestock to feed under drought conditions or local feed shortages as determined by USDA. The deadline to request ELAP assistance for the 2022 calendar year is January 30, 2023.

For more assistance with these programs, producers should contact their local FSA office.

-Ben Beckman is a beef systems Extension Educator serving the counties of Antelope, Cedar, Knox, Madison and Pierce.  He is based out of the Cedar County Extension office in Hartington.  You can reach him by phone: (402) 254-6821 or email: