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Disaster assistance available for Midwest farmers

Disaster assistance available for Midwest farmers

By Scout Nelson

Many farmers across the upper Midwest are dealing with the impacts of heavy rains and flooding from late June. Southern Minnesota, northern Iowa, and eastern South Dakota received 12-16 inches of rain during June, following double the normal precipitation in May.

This has led to flash flooding near rivers and streams, significant drown-out damage to crops, some livestock losses, and damage to buildings and property.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced several assistance programs available to affected farmers:

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP): LIP provides aid to livestock producers who incur damage due to heavy rainfall, flooding, or other natural disasters.

Producers must submit evidence of losses to their local FSA office by March 25, 2025, to apply for 2024 LIP payments.

Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP): ELAP offers compensation for feed and grazing losses to livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers.

Producers need to complete a notice of loss and a payment application at their local FSA office by January 30, 2025. Orchard owners with damaged fruit trees can access the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) through FSA offices.

Emergency Relief Program (ERP): ERP provides additional assistance to crop producers with extensive losses due to natural disasters.

While no ERP has been announced for the 2024 crop year, crop loss data from local FSA offices will help determine the need. ERP payments are typically made after the crop year and after all crop insurance claims have been filed.

FSA Low-Interest Loans: Farmers in counties with a primary USDA disaster declaration, including contiguous counties, are eligible for emergency loans to recover from physical and production losses.

These loans can cover building and equipment replacement, feed and farm input purchases, and other expenses. Emergency loans often have lower interest rates and longer repayment terms.

The Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program can help finance repair or replacement costs for damaged grain storage and handling facilities.

Report Losses to Local FSA Offices: Farmers should report any crop acreage, livestock losses, and property damage to their local FSA offices. Accurate loss data helps determine the need for additional USDA disaster programs and support.

FSA and Crop Insurance Deadlines:

FSA Acreage Certification: The 2024 crop acreage reporting deadline for all spring-planted crops is Monday, July 15. Farmers must report their crop acres, including prevented planted acres, to maintain program eligibility. Fall-seeded small grains must be reported by November 15, 2024. Farmers can certify crop acreage electronically through the portal.

Crop Insurance Acreage Reporting Deadline: The same July 15 deadline applies for reporting crop acres to local crop insurance agents.

This ensures continued crop insurance coverage, which is vital due to strong guarantees and potential production issues from late planting and flooding.

Photo Credit: usda

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