Dry conditions across the state will likely cause forage shortages in many areas. The Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) includes a program designed to assist livestock producers facing extended drought conditions.
Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) is available to eligible producers facing grazing losses due to drought or fire (LFP Fact Sheet). LFP is a United States Department of Agriculture program, administered by the Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA). Producers will need to contact their USDA-FSA office to request assistance from this program.
LFP is available to producers that:
- Own, lease or contract feed any of the covered classes of livestock during the 60 calendar days prior to the qualifying drought or fire occurrence,
- Provide pasture or grazing land in the qualified county or have been prohibited from grazing federally managed rangeland due to a qualifying fire occurrence,
- Certify grazing losses have occurred due to the qualifying drought or fire occurrence,
- File form CCC-853 for all grazing acres that qualify due to forage losses due to drought or fire by the deadline.
Qualified livestock include beef, dairy, buffalo, sheep, goats, deer, equine, swine, elk, poultry, reindeer, alpacas, emus and llamas. FSA bases payments on a rate per head and the number of consecutive weeks a county is designated as a D2, D3 or D4 drought per the U.S Drought Monitor. Based on the drought criteria, as of July 21, 2016, six South Dakota counties are eligible for payments through LFP.
FSA determined the monthly payment rate as equal to 60 percent of the lesser of either the monthly feed cost for all covered livestock owned or leased by the producer or calculated from the normal carrying capacity of the eligible acres. For 2016, the monthly payment rate for adult beef bulls and cows is $32.36, beef non-adult animals weighing 500 pounds or more is $24.27 and the all sheep rate is $8.09. The LFP fact sheet, indicated above, contains a full list of the rates for eligible livestock. Producers that have reduced herd size due to the drought need to contact their FSA office regarding special provisions in the program for those animals.
While a small percentage of South Dakota counties currently qualify for assistance through LFP, producers can monitor future county designations and access the program by working with county FSA offices across the state.