Friday, May 15, 2009

USDA Disaster Programs Require Documentation of Loss Eligible Producers Urged to Begin Compiling Proof of Loss

(Brush Prairie, WA), May 07, 2009 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Brush Prairie is reminding agricultural producers who incurred weather-related losses of eligible livestock, honey bees or farm-raised fish, or feed to keep documentation of losses in preparation for new disaster assistance programs. "Producers who suffered losses due to adverse weather events or colony collapse on or after January 1, 2008, should begin gathering loss documentation," said Taylor Murray, County Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency, "This documentation will be necessary to show eligibility to receive payments under the new Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)."

These two disaster assistance programs were enacted under the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill).

“Losses due to adverse weather, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture, include blizzards, disease, extreme cold, extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires and are eligible for LIP and ELAP,” said Murray, "Disease or other conditions, as determined by the Secretary, may also be eligible causes of loss for ELAP."

LIP covers death of livestock due to adverse weather, while ELAP may include loss of feed, forage, and extra expenses incurred, such as transportation costs. ELAP also covers physical loss of honeybees or farm-raised fish. Until the regulations for the programs are published in the Federal Register, the local FSA staff will not know all types of losses and causes for which livestock, honey bee, and farm-raised fish producers may be compensated under LIP or ELAP.

Producers are advised that the LIP and ELAP application periods are not yet opened, so documents are not being accepted, "but now is the time to make sure you have verifiable loss documentation," said Murray. Adequate LIP documentation must prove the death of eligible livestock occurred as a direct result of an eligible adverse weather event in the calendar year for which benefits are being requested.

If adequate verifiable proof of death records is not available, a livestock producer may provide reliable records, along with verifiable beginning and ending inventory, as proof of death.

Third-party certifications of livestock deaths may be accepted only if verifiable proof of death records and verifiable beginning and ending inventory records are not available. A third-party statement must be from an independent source not affiliated with the farming operation. Family members do not qualify. For further details on qualifying third-party sources, contact your county FSA office.

Honey bee producers who incur physical losses of honey bees and honey bee hives because of colony collapse disorder must provide documentation and/or a certification that colony collapse disorder caused the loss. They must also show documentation of inventory on the beginning date of the colony collapse or adverse weather event and the ending inventory.
Farm-raised fish producers, who incur physical losses of farm-raised fish because of adverse weather or other conditions, must show documentation of beginning inventory on the beginning date of the adverse weather event and the ending inventory.

Livestock, honey bee, or farm-raised fish producers, who incur feed losses or additional feed costs, must provide verifiable documentation of purchased feed that was lost, or additional feed purchased above normal to sustain livestock, honey bees, and farm-raised fish for a short period of time until additional feed becomes available.
“Our staff can provide producers with a list of acceptable document types for proof of death, loss or added expense due to the natural disaster,” said Murray. “Producers should realize that payments will not fully compensate them for their losses.”

Additional information about LIP and ELAP is available at FSA County Offices or by visiting the national FSA website at

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