FSA director outlines changes made for ELAP under the 2014 farm billWritten by Natasha Wheeler
Worland – “The Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) provides emergency relief for eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish to aid in reduction of losses,” noted Sherri Harvey, director of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Washakie and Hot Springs Counties at WESTI Ag Days on Feb 4.
Losses covered by the program may be due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, as determined by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, that are not covered by the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) or the Livestock Forage Program (LFP).
“There are new discretionary provisions that have different national payment factors for applicants certified under social disadvantage, limited resources or beginning farmers and ranchers,” Harvey explained.
Qualified applicants in these definitions will receive payments for livestock losses based on a national payment factor of 90 percent.
“ELAP will now also cover losses from transporting water to eligible livestock, beginning in 2014,” she added.
Producers may be eligible for payments if conditions require the transport of water where it would not normally be necessary and losses result from the additional costs of water transport.
“When we had droughts in the past, we had water hauling available under the emergency conservation program. It is now covered under ELAP,” she stated.
Another change in the program concerns the timeline for grazing loss payments.
“This program increases the maximum number of days for which payment may be received, from 90 days to 150 days, in the case of livestock feed losses and grazing losses not caused by wildfires on non-federal land,” she added.
Harvey also explained that record keeping is an important factor in eligibility for ELAP participation.
“Starting in 2015, participants with grazing losses must provide acceptable verifiable or reliable records that additional feed was fed to sustain livestock or that livestock were moved from the eligible grazing land where the grazing loss occurred,” she described.
If verifiable or reliable records are not provided, FSA may accept grazer self-certification of the grazing losses, depending on the circumstances of the situation.
“To be considered eligible for the ELAP, producers also have to have an acreage report on file,” she warned.
Records illustrating conditions in normal condition years will also be investigated when a claim is filed.
“When a producer is purchasing more feed than what they typically do, we will be looking at feed costs for the two previous years, opposed to what it costs this year,” she noted.
Producers and their livestock must also meet all of the qualifications outlined in the program to receive payments for losses.
“An eligible loss under ELAP has to be for an eligible producer of livestock, honeybees or farm-raised fish, incurred because of eligible adverse weather or eligible loss and can not be covered under the LIP or LFP programs,” Harvey commented.
The ELAP program year begins Oct. 1 of the fiscal year and ends Sept. 30.
“Sign-up ends Nov. 1 at the end of the program year in which the loss occurred,” she added.
Producers who submit an application for payment should also submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office that maintains their farm records.
More information can be found regarding ELAP at local FSA offices or at fsa.usda.gov. Look for articles relating to LFP and LIP in future editions of the Roundup.