The federal Livestock Indemnity Program is available to provide payments to livestock producers who lose animals as a result of adverse weather conditions this year.
"With flooding this spring, this program could be very helpful to producers," says Oliver County Extension agent Rick Schmidt. "But the program is not limited to livestock losses from flooding. It also applies to losses from blizzards, wildfires, and extreme heat or cold."
Livestock losses from diseases also may be eligible if the disease is caused by weather, according to Jim Jost, Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm program specialist for North Dakota. The FSA administers the Livestock Indemnity Program.
Producers who have losses because of diseases must provide documentation to support how the disease was accelerated or intensified by an eligible adverse weather event. Diseases that can be prevented by implementing a vaccination program are not eligible cases of loss. For example, livestock that perished from pneumonia, scours or clostridium perfringens are not eligible.
Producers may be eligible for payments if livestock losses exceed normal mortality and are caused by an eligible adverse weather that occurs before Oct. 1, 2011. The FSA also requires that producers must have legally owned the livestock on the day the animals died.
The program covers livestock such as cattle, sheep, swine, poultry and goats, as well as alpacas, deer, elk, emus and llamas, that were being used for commercial purposes as part of a farming operation. The program excludes wild, free-roaming animals; pets; and animals used for recreation, such as hunting, roping or showing.
"Producers need to document all losses in a timely manner and provide proper documentation on the losses," Schmidt says.
Producers must file a notice of loss to the FSA within 30 days of the loss being apparent. The notice of loss may be completed by telephone, in person or by email or fax.
"The notice of loss is simply a report to FSA that the livestock producer lost livestock due to an identified adverse weather event that occurred on a specific date," Jost says. "The number and type of livestock that perished will be provided during the application process."
Applicants must provide proof of the livestock deaths. The proof may include verifiable documentation such as veterinary records, bank or other loan documents, or production records. Other reliable records such as photos with imprinted dates and calving books may be accepted.
If these types of records are not available, a certificate from a third party may be accepted if the third party is not affiliated with the producer's operation and has specific knowledge of the deaths.