WASHINGTON– Distribution of federal payments to producers for livestock disaster assistance in 2021 was scheduled to begin the first week of April, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The agency said it approved the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) application for losses due to severe drought last year and producers will receive emergency relief payments. The money will come through the Farm Service Agency’s new Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP).

“Producers of grazing livestock experienced catastrophic losses of available forage as well as higher costs for supplemental feed in 2021. 

Unfortunately, the conditions driving these losses have not improved for many and have even worsened for some, as drought spreads across the US,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In order to deliver much-needed assistance as efficiently as possible, phase one of the ELRP will use certain data from the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), allowing USDA to distribute payments within days to livestock producers.”

To be eligible for the assistance under phase one, livestock producers must have suffered grazing losses in a county rated by the US Drought Monitor to have D2 (severe drought) for eight consecutive weeks or a D3 (extreme drought) or higher level of drought intensity during the 2021 calendar year. They also needed to apply and be approved for 2021 LFP. 

The agency added that producers who permitted grazing on federally managed lands due to wildfire are also eligible for payments.

Farm Service Agency received more than 100,000 applications totaling nearly $670 million in payments to livestock producers under LFP for 2021.