As the floodwater recedes and snow melts, farmers and ranchers are getting a better look at the amount of damage their operations have suffered from recent extreme weather events.
One of the more significant losses experienced by landowners has been livestock death. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service has assistance available to help landowners cope with the aftermath of livestock death.
Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, farmers and ranchers can apply for assistance to properly dispose of dead livestock. Applications are being accepted now through April 5. The second cutoff date is May 1. Additional application cutoff dates may be announced if there is demand and available funding.
"This was an unprecedented and devastating event for Nebraska,” NRCS state conservationist Craig Derickson said. “Some ranchers are dealing with hundreds of dead animals. This is not only damaging to their bottom line, but if these animals are not disposed of properly, there could be negative impacts to water quality and other natural resources.
“NRCS conservationists are available to provide technical and financial assistance to help producers dispose of livestock carcasses in a safe manner."
Producers who have not already disposed of livestock can apply for EQIP now. Producers then can get a waiver to allow them to begin working to dispose of deceased livestock before having an approved EQIP contract.
"Typically, producers cannot begin working on an EQIP practice before their EQIP contract has been approved," Derickson said. "But since this situation is so time-critical, NRCS is encouraging producers to sign up for EQIP first, then submit a waiver to go ahead and begin animal disposal prior to having their EQIP contract approved."
Producers who suffered other damages because of the blizzard and flooding — including damaged fencing, water sources or windbreaks —also may seek assistance from NRCS through general EQIP funding. The sign-up period for general EQIP is continuous and has no cutoff application date.
"NRCS is committed to helping producers get back on their feet after these extreme weather events while also ensuring Nebraska's natural environment remains healthy and productive," Derickson said.
For information about the programs and assistance available from NRCS, visit a USDA service center or www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov.