Montana FSA: Disaster Assistance for Flood-Affected Montana Producers

2018 Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybee, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers who have losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, such as flooding, blizzards and wildfires, not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs.

Eligible livestock losses include grazing losses not covered under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), additional feed purchases in excess of normal and loss of purchased feed and/or mechanically harvested feed due to an eligible adverse weather event, additional cost of transporting water because of an eligible drought and additional cost associated with gathering livestock to treat for cattle tick fever.

Eligible honeybee losses include loss of purchased feed due to an eligible adverse weather event, cost of additional feed purchased above normal quantities due to an eligible adverse weather condition, colony losses in excess of normal mortality due to an eligible weather event or loss condition, including CCD, and hive losses due to eligible adverse weather.

Eligible farm-raised fish losses include death losses in excess of normal mortality and/or loss of purchased feed due to an eligible adverse weather event.

Producers who suffered eligible livestock, honeybee, or farm-raised fish losses from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018, must file:

A notice of loss the earlier of 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent or by Nov. 1, 2018

• An application for payment by Nov. 1, 2018

The following ELAP Fact Sheets (by topic) are available online:

• ELAP for Farm-Raised Fish Fact Sheet

• ELAP for Livestock Fact Sheet

• ELAP for Honeybees Fact Sheet

To view these and other FSA program fact sheets, visit the FSA fact sheet web page at www.fsa.usda.gov/factsheets.

For more information on ELAP, please contact your local FSA office.

Ongoing Notice of Loss Requirements

Montana farmers and ranchers are reminded to timely report all crop and livestock losses to your local Farm Service Agency office. For more information and any questions, please contact your local FSA office.

ELAP – Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program: Submit Notice of Loss the earlier of 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent or Nov. 1st after the end of the program year in which the loss occurred. Examples of ELAP losses include additional feed purchases in excess of normal and loss of damaged or destroyed purchased feed and/or mechanically harvested feed due to an eligible weather event. Producers may also be eligible for costs associated with transporting livestock feed to eligible livestock, including, but not limited to, costs associated with equipment rental fees for hay lifts and snow removal incurred in combination with losses due to additional feed purchased above normal or damaged or destroyed purchased or mechanically harvested forage.

LIP – Livestock Indemnity Program: Submit Notice of Loss within 30 calendar days of when the livestock loss is apparent. File an Application for payment and supporting documentation no later than 90 days after the calendar year in which the loss occurred.

NAP – Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program: Submit Notice of Loss within 15 calendar days of the earlier of a natural disaster occurrence, the final planting date if planting is prevented by a natural disaster, the date that damage to the crop or loss of production becomes apparent; or the normal harvest date.

TAP – Tree Assistance Program: Final Date to Submit an Application and Supporting Documentation is the later of 90 calendar days of the disaster event or the date when the loss is apparent.

Visit FSA’s national disaster assistance website and FSA’s program factsheets page.

Disaster Designations – If you have experienced a production or physical loss as a result of a natural disaster you may submit a request to your local FSA county office for your county to be evaluated for a disaster designation. Once a request is received, the county office will collect disaster data and create a Loss Assessment Report. The County Emergency Board will review the Loss Assessment Report and determine if a recommendation is sent forward to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for a designation. A designation triggers the availability of low-interest Emergency Loans to eligible producers in all primary and contiguous counties.

Farm Loans – For information on loan options with FSA, please contact your local FSA office for assistance and visit the FSA Farm Loan Programs Website.

FSA Disaster Assistance Programs at a Glance Factsheet (pdf)

For more information, please contact your local FSA office.

Requesting Emergency Conservation Program Assistance for Flood Damage

Farmers and ranchers suffering severe damage from flooding can request assistance through FSA’s Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). Affected producers can request ECP assistance through their local FSA office.

The types of ECP practices that can be available under this program include:

• removing debris from farmland

• grading, shaping or releveling severely damaged farmland

• restoring permanent fences

• restoring conservation structures and other similar installations

ECP is administered by FSA to assist producers with the cost of recovery activities required to restore the agricultural land to pre-disaster conditions. Producers who sustained damage from this disaster event are encouraged to submit their request for assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work. Submitting a request after completing qualified reconstructive work may result in forfeiture of program eligibility.

Producers can submit ECP applications through the FSA county office. FSA county committees will complete an evaluation of submitted requests and will request national funding based on an on-site inspection of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the eligible damage. Completion of the on-site inspection does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be allocated. The use of obligated funds is limited to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of completing the approved restoration activity.

For more information on ECP, please contact your local FSA office.

Producers are Encouraged to Report Prevented Planting and Failed Acres

Producers are reminded to report prevented planting and failed acres in order to establish or retain FSA program eligibility for some programs. Producers should report crop acreage they intended to plant, but due to a natural disaster, were prevented from planting. Prevented planting acreage must be reported on form CCC-576, Notice of Loss, no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and Risk Management Agency (RMA).

Contact your local FSA office for a list of final planting dates by crop.

If a producer is unable to report the prevented planting acreage within the 15 calendar days following the final planting date, a late-filed report can be submitted. Late-filed reports will only be accepted if FSA conducts a farm visit to assess the eligible disaster condition that prevented the crop from being planted. A measurement service fee will be charged.

Additionally, producers with failed acres should also use form CCC-576, Notice of Loss, to report failed acres.

Producers of hand-harvested crops must notify FSA of damage or loss through the administrative County Office within 72 hours of the date of damage or loss first becomes apparent. This notification can be provided by filing a CCC-576, email, fax or phone. Producers who notify the County Office by any method other than by filing the CCC-576 are still required to file a CCC-576, Notice of Loss, within the required 15 calendar days.

For losses on crops covered by the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), producers must file a Notice of Loss within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. Producers must timely file a Notice of Loss for failed acres on all crops including grasses.

 

Northern Plains Drought Worsens, USDA Responds with Expanded Emergency Federal Program Measures on Conservation Reserve Program Acres

As conditions deteriorate and drought expands across much of the Northern Plains, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering assistance to farmers and ranchers through numerous federal farm program provisions and continues to monitor the situation to ensure all viable program flexibilities are offered to producers.  Today, USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) acting State Executive Director in South Dakota, acting SED Jamie White, announced that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has authorized emergency haying on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands beginning July 16 through Aug. 30, 2017 for counties in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota designated as D2 or greater on the U.S. Drought Monitor.  Similar to the authorization for Emergency Grazing announced last month, this authorization includes any county with any part of its border located within 150 miles of a county eligible for emergency haying of CRP based on the U.S. drought monitor.

Increased demand for hay has further depleted already low levels of hay stock.  As of May 1, 2017, Montana and North Dakota reported the lowest hay stock since 2013 and since 2014 in South Dakota.

“We are offering any and all USDA program options that will provide farmers and ranchers relief from the devastating impacts of prolonged drought,” said acting SED White.

Landowners interested in emergency haying of CRP acres should contact their local FSA office and meet with their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff to obtain a modified conservation plan to include emergency haying. Not all CRP practices qualify for emergency haying. July 15 marks the end of the Primary Nesting Season in Montana. Due to the severe drought conditions, authorization for emergency haying may begin July 16 in North Dakota and South Dakota. Individual conservation plans will take into consideration wildlife needs.

Eligible CRP participants can hay their acreage for their own use or may grant another producer use of CRP land for haying purposes.  There will be no CRP annual rental payment reductions assessed for acres hayed under this emergency authority.

According to acting SED White, this emergency CRP haying authorization is an added resource to an extensive portfolio of drought assistance programs and emergency provisions offered by USDA agencies and currently available to eligible producers having a qualifying drought loss or related need.

Emergency CRP Grazing – In June, Secretary Perdue authorized emergency grazing of CRP acres during the primary nesting season in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in counties indicated as D2 or greater on the U.S. Drought Monitor.  This authorization was further expanded to include any county with any part of its border located within 150 miles of a county designated as level “D2 Drought – Severe” or higher according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Grazing is authorized through Sept. 30, 2017 unless conditions improve.  In South Dakota, 977,553 acres are currently enrolled under CRP.
FSA Farm Loan Livestock Physical Control Requirement Flexibility – USDA will authorize up to a 12 month exemption to the FSA farm loan requirement that borrowers maintain physical control of livestock during the term of the loan. This exemption will allow livestock producers the option of sending livestock to feedlots, drylots or otherwise relocate livestock to locations where feed, forage and water needs can be met.  FSA has 4870 direct loans totaling 408 million dollars in South Dakota.
Emergency Loan Program – Available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses.

These and a number of other disaster assistance programs are available to farmers and ranchers. For more information on disaster assistance programs and loans visit www.fsa.usda.gov/disasteror contact your local FSA Office. To find your local FSA county office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.