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USDA Drought Relief Programs for Livestock Producers Main Photo

USDA Drought Relief Programs for Livestock Producers

Written by: Marissa Saenz, Content Writer and Graphic Designer
Posted: September 14, 2023 by Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper

The ongoing drought is taking its toll on livestock producers in Texas, but there's a silver lining—help is available through USDA programs designed to alleviate the financial burden. This article provides a concise overview of these crucial programs. For more detailed information, you can visit the source page at Texas Farm Bureau.

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

Livestock producers facing the drought's impact in eligible counties can access assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). ELAP offers financial support for three key areas:

1. Transporting Water: Covering the costs of water transportation to livestock.

2. Feed Transportation: Assisting with above-normal expenses when transporting feed to livestock.

3. Livestock Transportation: Supporting the expenses of moving livestock to alternative grazing areas due to insufficient feed.

To qualify for ELAP assistance, your livestock (including cattle, bison, goats, and sheep) must be used for commercial purposes in counties experiencing qualifying drought conditions. These conditions include D2 severe drought intensity for eight consecutive weeks or D3/D4 drought intensity at any time during the normal grazing period. The program can cover expenses related to labor, equipment, hired help, and contracted water transportation fees. However, it doesn't cover the cost of the water itself. The reimbursement rate typically reaches 60% of costs above normal. If you hold a CCC-860 underserved producer certification, you may qualify for a 90% reimbursement rate.

Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)

Livestock producers and contract growers who cultivate forage crops for grazing can find relief through the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP). This program assists those who have suffered losses due to drought or fire during the normal grazing season. Eligible livestock include alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo, deer, goats, and more. Over 200 Texas counties qualify for LFP assistance in the 2023 program year, based on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Details about eligible counties and grazing crops can be found on the FSA Texas webpage.

To expedite your LFP application, gather records documenting your 2023 losses, such as grazing leases and contract grower agreements. The application deadline for 2023 LFP assistance is January 30, 2024.

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)

If severe drought conditions threaten the survival of your livestock due to reduced water availability, the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) offers cost-share assistance. Approved practices may include installing pipelines, deepening wells, or developing springs or seeps for livestock water. Producers qualifying for ECP assistance can receive cost shares, with eligible underserved producers potentially receiving up to 90% reimbursement. However, cost-share assistance is limited to $500,000 per person or legal entity per natural disaster.

In addition to ELAP, LFP, and ECP, there are other USDA programs available for those impacted by wildfire or in need of tree replanting or rehabilitation due to drought.

For more detailed information on these programs and to apply for assistance, please visit the [Texas Farm Bureau source page]( Act promptly because the application deadline for 2023 ELAP and LFP assistance is January 30, 2024.

USDA Farm Loans

The USDA also offers various farm loans, including operating and emergency farm loans, to assist producers facing financial difficulties. If you are unable to make scheduled payments on your farm loan due to uncontrollable circumstances, reach out to FSA for potential assistance options.

Remember, the USDA is here to support you during these challenging times. Don't hesitate to explore the available programs and resources to help you navigate the impacts of drought on your livestock operation.

For more detailed information and resources, please visit the Texas Farm Bureau page.

If you're a livestock producer navigating these challenging conditions and need guidance on land and ranch resources, don't hesitate to reach out to a knowledgeable land and ranch agent. Our expert agents can provide valuable insights and assistance tailored to your specific needs. Your trusted agent is just a call away, ready to support you.


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