Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA has made more than $175 million in disaster payments to livestock producers after implementing two new programs in 2009. The payments demonstrate USDA's commitment to rapidly meeting the goals of Congress and providing farmers and ranchers with timely and effective disaster assistance, he said.

"America's farmers and ranchers deserve efficient and effective assistance programs to help get through natural disasters, while the previous ad hoc disaster assistance too often was too little, too late,” he stated. “Because we were able to get these new programs up and running quickly, we are already beginning to achieve Congress' goal of helping producers recover losses rapidly and more thoroughly."

Under the standing provisions of the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), authorized in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill), producers are able to recover from losses incurred in 2008 and subsequent disasters. The 2008 farm bill provisions replace previous ad-hoc disaster assistance programs and are funded through the Agricultural Disaster Relief Trust Fund.

LIP provides payments to livestock owners and contract growers who suffered eligible livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality as a direct result of an eligible adverse weather event, including hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires and extreme heat and cold. Eligible livestock include beef and dairy cattle, alpacas, buffalo, beefalo, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, lambs, poultry, reindeer, sheep and swine.

LFP provides payments to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock grazing losses due to qualifying drought or fire. Eligible livestock include beef and dairy cattle, alpacas, buffalo, beefalo, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep and swine. Drought-eligible areas can be determined using the U.S. Drought Monitor, which can be found at the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

To be eligible for LIP payments for losses suffered in 2009, livestock owners and contract growers must file a notice of loss within 30 days of when the loss was apparent to the producer and an application for payment must be filed no later than Jan. 30, 2010.

To be eligible for 2009 calendar year grazing losses under LFP, eligible livestock producers must submit a completed application for payment, including the required documentation, to their administrative county FSA office no later than Jan. 30, 2010.

For more information or to apply for LIP or LFP and other USDA Farm Service Agency disaster assistance programs, visit your FSA county office.