Texas Farmers and Ranchers May be Eligible for More Drought-Related Assistance from USDA
Much of Texas is still classified in being in some type of drought, even through there has been plenty of rain over the past few weeks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reminding Texas ranchers and livestock producers that they may be eligible for a federal program. Specifically, financial assistance through the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for 2021 grazing losses, due to the drought. The USDA notes the deadline to apply for 2021 assistance is January 31, 2022.
“In addition to recovering from recent winter storms, ranchers and livestock producers continue to experience the impacts of severe drought conditions,” said Eddie Trevino, acting state executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Texas. “FSA remains ready to respond to and assist producers with recovery from this ongoing disaster.”
144 of Texas' 254 counties have drought ratings that have met criteria to eligible for livestock disaster assistance through the aforementioned LFP. Qualifying drought ratings are determined using the U.S. Drought Monitor, and the FSA Texas webpage has a list of eligible counties and grazing crops.
According to the USDA:
LFP provides payments to livestock owners and contract growers who also produce forage crops for grazing and suffered losses due to a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period for the county. Eligible livestock include alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo/bison, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, reindeer, or sheep that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland during the normal grazing period.
To expedite the application process, producers are encouraged to gather and submit records documenting 2021 losses. Supporting documents may include information related to grazing leases, contract grower agreements, and more.
In addition, Texas ag producers who utilize Federal Crop Insurance, or the FSA’s NAP, should report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or FSA office.
If they have crop insurance, producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days. For NAP covered crops, a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be reported within 72 hours.
The USDA also notes that online at Farmers.gov there are a number of tools online to help producers, including: the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, the Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and the Farm Loan Discovery Tool.