For Farmers and Ranchers, raising livestock is a way of life, and when natural disasters strike or other unforeseen events occur, the loss of livestock can be devastating. It’s not just the financial impact of losing animals, but also the emotional toll of losing part of your livelihood and the effect it has on your family. That’s why the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) is so important – it offers financial support of 75% of market value to Farmers and Ranchers for livestock death losses that occur in excess of normal mortality.
If you’ve suffered livestock death losses due to a natural disaster like a flood, wildfire, or drought, an instance of disease outbreak, or an eligible attack, you may be eligible for disaster assistance through LIP. It’s important to know that you’re not alone, and that help is available.
Eligibility criteria can vary depending on the specific event and the region where it occurred, so it’s always best to check with your local FSA office to determine if your losses qualify for the program.
Here are examples of weather conditions that could qualify for the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program:
- Floods: Livestock that are trapped in floodwaters may suffer from hypothermia, drowning, or exposure. Floods can also cause damage to feed and water sources, which can impact the health and survival of livestock.
- Wildfires: Wildfires can be especially devastating to livestock, as they can destroy grazing lands and fencing, leaving animals with no way to escape the flames. Smoke inhalation and burns can also cause serious injuries or death to livestock.
- Drought: Drought conditions can impact the availability and quality of forage and water sources, which can cause malnourishment and dehydration in livestock. In severe cases, drought can lead to livestock death losses.
- Hurricanes: High winds, heavy rain, and flooding associated with hurricanes can cause injuries or deaths to animals, particularly if they are not able to seek shelter.
- Tornadoes: Tornadoes can cause significant damage to structures, including barns and other livestock housing facilities. In addition, high winds and debris can cause injury or death to livestock that are exposed to the elements.
- Storms and Lightning Strikes: Storms with active lightning can cause injury and death to livestock through direct impact strikes.
Here are examples of disease outbreaks that could qualify for the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program:
- Anthrax: A bacteria-caused disease that affects various mammals, including cattle.
- Cyanobacteria: Also known as blue-green algae, can produce toxins that are harmful to livestock, especially when ingested from contaminated water sources.
- Larkspur Poisoning: Toxic plants that, when consumed by livestock, can result in poisoning.
- Blue Tongue: A viral disease transmitted by midges that affects sheep and other ruminants.
- CVV (Cache Valley Virus): A viral disease affecting sheep, causing a variety of health issues including birth defects.
Here are examples of eligible attacks that could qualify for the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program:
- Predator attacks: Predators such as wolves, coyotes, bears, and mountain lions can attack and kill livestock, particularly when the animals are grazing in open range areas.
- Domestic animal attacks: Dogs, cats, and other domestic animals can also attack livestock, causing serious injury or death.
- Unexplained livestock deaths: The LIP program may provide compensation for losses due to unexplained livestock deaths, as long as the producer can provide evidence that the deaths were beyond their control and reasonable efforts were made to prevent such losses.
To participate in LIP, you must submit a notice of loss to your local FSA office within 30 days of the loss occurring; it’s important not to delay. Once the notice of loss is made, you’ll need to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event, eligible disease outbreak, or an eligible attack. This means that you’ll need to keep detailed records of the losses, including information about the number, kind, type, and weight range of livestock that have died. It’s also helpful to supplement these records with photographs or video of loss as proof.
Records of ownership will be needed to support the beginning inventory and prove ownership, and if your operation uses a rendering service, rendering truck receipts by kind, type, and weight are important to document as well.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it to ensure that you receive the financial assistance you need to recover from the loss you experience. Subscribers to Ag Funding Assistance will receive convenient printable pdf forms, contact information for all programs, and text message reminders 5 days prior to deadlines and closing dates to help you apply for programs through your local USDA office. We know that losing livestock is a difficult and emotional experience for Farmers and Ranchers, and the Livestock Indemnity Program can provide much-needed financial assistance to help cover losses incurred and help get you back on your feet.