Farm Progress

Estimate your disaster payment quickly by using an online calculator created by NDSU farm management specialists.

August 18, 2017

2 Min Read
NO GRASS: Cows search for grass in a drought-stricken pasture in North Dakota.NDSU

Some significant Livestock Forage Program disaster payments could be made to North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana stockmen this year, says Andrew Swenson, North Dakota State University Extension farm management specialist.

If you want to get an idea of how much money you might be eligible to receive, check out the NDSU LFP payment calculator online.

You can find it at

Enter the number of animals units and acres of grass, and the Excel program will give you a quick estimate.

LFP explained
The LFP program was created in the 2014 Farm Bill. It compensates producers from some of the forage loss caused by drought. Payments vary according to the intensity and duration of the drought. In many counties in the Dakotas and Montana, the drought has been severe enough and has lasted long enough that producers will be eligible for the maximum payment, Swenson says.

Based on the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of Aug. 1, producers with livestock and pasture in 31 North Dakota counties, 27 South Dakota counties and 17 Montana counties may be eligible for some assistance.

LFP eligibility rules require that producers own, lease or be a contract grower of covered livestock during the 60 days prior to the qualifying drought. Producers also must have owned or leased grazing land for the livestock in a county affected by drought.

“The LFP calculator provides a quick estimate but does not consider scenarios where there is grazing in multiple counties, annual forage crops planted specifically for grazing, grazing of federally managed lands impacted by fire, or grazing of multiple pasture types by the same covered livestock,” Swenson says. “Contact your local Farm Service Agency office for complete details and calculations.”

According to the LFP fact sheet, coverage is available for most species of livestock found in the Northern Plains. Beef, dairy, buffalo, sheep, goats, deer, horses, elk, reindeer, alpacas, emus and llamas are all eligible for payments.

The payment calculation is a little complicated. According to the LFP fact sheet, the LFP monthly payment rate is equal to 60% of the lesser of either the monthly feed cost:

 for all covered livestock owned or leased by the eligible livestock producer, or

 calculated by using the normal carrying capacity of the eligible grazing land of the  eligible livestock producer

But you don’t have to know the formula to figure out what your payment might be. The NDSU calculator has the program formula built into the spreadsheet.

For information about when to apply, when payments will be made and other details, contact your local FSA office.

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