WASHINGTON – Livestock growers impacted by weather-related disasters can sign up to get financial help.

The US Department of Agriculture announced that farmers and ranchers can sign up for disaster assistance programs on April 15. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013 and 2014, USDA reported.

"These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

USDA is encouraging all producers who experienced losses to collect records documenting their losses before enrolling in these disaster assistance programs. Local FSA county offices can provide information on the types of records applicants will need. Producers also are encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

LIP provides compensation to livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible livestock includes beef cattle, dairy cattle, bison, poultry, sheep, swine and horses.

LFP provides compensates eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire on publicly managed land. An eligible livestock producer must own, cash lease, or be a contract grower of eligible livestock during the 60 calendar days before the beginning date of the qualifying drought or fire in a county that is rated by the US Drought Monitor as D2, D3, or D4.

Finally, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides emergency aid to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.