Livestock producers get millions in disaster aid

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made more than $175 million in disaster payments to America's livestock producers after implementing two new programs in 2009, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

He said this demonstrates U.S.D.A.'s commitment to rapidly meeting the goals of Congress and providing farmers and ranchers with timely and effective disaster assistance.

"America's farmers and ranchers deserve efficient and effective assistance programs to help get through natural disasters," Mr. Vilsack said. "While the previous ad hoc disaster assistance too often was too little, too late, because we were able to get these new programs up and running quickly, we are already beginning to achieve Congress' goal of helping producers recover losses rapidly and more thoroughly."

Mr. Vilsack added producers are better able to recover from their losses stemming from 2008 and subsequent disasters under the standing provisions of the Livestock Indemnity Program (L.I.P.) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (L.F.P.), authorized in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill). The 2008 Farm Bill provisions replace previous ad-hoc disaster assistance programs and are funded through the Agricultural Disaster Relief Trust Fund.

L.I.P. provides payments to eligible livestock owners and contract growers who suffered eligible livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality as a direct result of an eligible adverse weather event including hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires and extreme heat and cold. Eligible livestock under L.I.P. include beef cattle, alpacas, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, lambs, poultry, reindeer, sheep and swine.

L.F.P. provides payments to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock grazing losses due to qualifying drought or fire. Eligible livestock under L.F.P. include beef cattle, alpacas, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep and swine.

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