The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) makes the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) a permanent program and provides retroactive authority to cover eligible losses back to Oct. 1, 2011. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses for covered livestock on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or is planted specifically for grazing. The grazing losses must be due to a qualifying drought condition during the normal grazing period for the county. LFP also provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses on rangeland managed by a federal agency if the eligible livestock producer is prohibited by the federal agency from grazing the normal permitted livestock on the managed rangeland due to a qualifying fire.
The grazing losses must have occurred on or after Oct. 1, 2011.
LFP is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Eligible Counties for Drought
An eligible livestock producer that owns or leases grazing land or pastureland physically located in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a:
- D2 (severe drought) intensity in any area of the county for at least eight consecutive weeks during the normal grazing period is eligible to receive assistance in an amount equal to one monthly payment;
- D3 (extreme drought) intensity in any area of the county at any time during the normal grazing period is eligible to receive assistance in an amount equal to three monthly payments;
- D3 (extreme drought) intensity in any area of the county for at least four weeks during the normal grazing period or is rated a D4 (exceptional drought) intensity at any time during the normal grazing period is eligible to receive assistance in an amount equal to four monthly payments;
- D4 (exceptional drought) in a county for four weeks (not necessarily four consecutive weeks) during the normal grazing period is eligible to receive assistance in an amount equal to five monthly payments.
A map of eligible counties for LFP drought may be found at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
Eligible livestock types under LFP include alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep or swine that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland:
- During the normal grazing period for the specific type of grazing land or pastureland for the county, or;
- When the federal agency excluded the livestock producer from grazing the normally permitted livestock on the managed rangeland due to fire.
Eligible livestock must:
- Have been owned, purchased or entered into a contract to purchase during the 60 days prior to the beginning date of a qualifying drought or fire condition;
- Have been held by a contract grower or sold or otherwise disposed of due to a qualifying drought condition during the current production year or one or both of the two production years immediately preceding the current production year;
- Have been maintained for commercial use as part of a farming operation on the beginning date of the eligible drought or fire condition;
- Not have been produced and maintained for reasons other than commercial use as part of a farming operation. (Such excluded uses include, but are not limited to, wild free roaming animals or animals used for recreational purposes such as pleasure, hunting, pets, roping or for show);
- Not have been livestock that were or would have been in a feedlot on the beginning date of the qualifying drought or fire as part of the normal business operation of the producer.
To be eligible for LFP, producers must:
- Own, cash or share lease, or be a contract grower of covered livestock during the 60 calendar days before the beginning date of a qualifying drought or fire;
- Provide pastureland or grazing land for covered livestock, including cash-rented pastureland or grazing land that is either:
- Physically located in a county affected by a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period for the county, or;
- Rangeland managed by a federal agency for which the otherwise eligible livestock producer is prohibited by the federal agency from grazing the normally permitted livestock because of a qualifying fire.
- Certify that they have suffered a grazing loss because of a qualifying drought or fire;
- Timely file an acreage report for all grazing land for which a loss of grazing is being claimed.
FSA will calculate LFP payments for an eligible livestock producer for grazing losses because of a qualifying drought equal to 1, 3, 4 or 5 times the LFP monthly payment rate. The LFP monthly payment rate for drought is equal to 60 percent of the lesser of the monthly feed cost:
- For all covered livestock owned or leased by the eligible livestock producer;
- Calculated by using the normal carrying capacity of the eligible grazing land of the eligible livestock producer.
Total LFP payments to an eligible livestock producer in a calendar year for grazing losses will not exceed five monthly payments for the same livestock.
In the case of an eligible livestock producer who sold or otherwise disposed of livestock because of drought conditions in one or both of the two previous production years immediately preceding the current production year, the payment rate will equal 80 percent of the monthly payment rate.
FSA will calculate LFP payments for eligible livestock producers for losses suffered because of a qualifying fire on federally managed rangeland for which the producer is prohibited from grazing the normally permitted livestock. The payment begins on the first day the permitted livestock are prohibited from grazing the eligible rangeland and ending on the earlier of the last day of the federal lease of the eligible livestock producer or the day that would make the period a 180 calendar-day period. The payment rate is 50 percent of the monthly feed cost for the number of days the producer is prohibited from grazing the managed rangeland because of a qualifying fire, not to exceed 180 calendar days.
For 2012 and subsequent program years, no person or legal entity, excluding a joint venture or general partnership, may receive directly or indirectly, more than $125,000 total in payments under LFP, ELAP and LIP combined.
For 2011, no person or legal entity, excluding a joint venture or general partnership, may receive directly or indirectly more than $125,000 total in the 2011 program year in payments under the LFP, ELAP, LIP and Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program, when at least $25,000 of such total 2011 program payments is from LFP or LIP for losses from Oct. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2011.
In applying the limitation on average adjusted gross income (AGI), an individual or legal entity is ineligible for payment under LFP if the individual’s or legal entity’s average AGI exceeds $900,000.
Direct attribution provisions apply to LFP for 2011 and subsequent years. Under direct attribution, any payment to a legal entity also will be considered for payment limitation purposes to be a payment to persons or legal entities with an interest in the legal entity or in a sub-entity.
For grazing losses that occurred between Oct. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2014, sign-up will begin on April 15, 2014, and end on Jan. 30, 2015. For 2015 and subsequent calendar years, producers must provide a completed application for payment and required supporting documentation to their FSA office within 30 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the grazing loss occurred.
The producer should include a copy of the grower contract if the producer is a contract grower and any other supporting documents required for determining eligibility. Supporting documents must show evidence of loss, current physical location of livestock in inventory, evidence that grazing land or pastureland is owned or leased and evidence that if the loss of grazing was due to a fire that the producer was prohibited by the federal agency from grazing the normal permitted livestock on the managed rangeland due to a fire.
Payments on Behalf of Deceased Producers
Payments may be made for eligible losses suffered by an eligible producer who is now deceased or for a dissolved entity if a currently authorized representative signs the application for payment. Proof of authority to sign for a deceased individual or dissolved entity must be provided. If a producer is a dissolved entity, all former members at the time of dissolution or their duly authorized representative(s) must sign the application for payment.
FSA will use data furnished by the applicant to determine eligibility for program benefits. Furnishing the data is voluntary; however, without all required data, program benefits will not be approved or provided.
Contact your local FSA office