Recent severe weather has caused a tremendous amount of damage in northwest Iowa. "This is a difficult time for many of our producers," notes John Whitaker, state executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa. "We need to make sure that producers report damage and losses, so that they don't miss an opportunity for receiving funding and financial help from our programs. FSA has programs for coping with livestock problems, debris removal and loans for physical losses such as buildings that have been damaged or blown away."
Eligible livestock producers can apply for benefits through the Livestock Indemnity Program. This program provides assistance to producers for livestock deaths that result from a natural disaster. LIP compensates livestock owners and contract growers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible losses must have occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2008, and before Oct. 1, 2011.
Be sure to report damage and losses right away to local FSA office
"This program provides livestock producers with a vital safety net to help them overcome the damaging financial impact of natural disasters," says Whitaker. "A notice of loss must be filed with FSA within 30 days of when the loss of livestock is apparent. Livestock that die within 60 days of the date of the qualifying event, but prior to Oct. 1, 2011 will be considered eligible for loss benefits."
Emergency Conservation Program can provide funding to repair farmland damaged by natural disasters, including debris removal, restore fences and repair existing conservation structures. Whitaker says that before this program can be implemented, the need must be determined, making it important for producers to report damages before clean up begins on the land.
Emergency loans through FSA could also be available. Whitaker points out that "while, no declarations have been made at this time for the counties in northwest Iowa, emergency loans can assist farmers who have suffered a physical or production loss after an area is declared by the President as a disaster area or designated by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture as a disaster." Loan purposes include operation and real estate, restoring/replacing essential property, production costs for a disaster year, essential family living expenses, reorganization, and refinancing certain debts.
For more information on disaster programs offered by FSA, contact your local county FSA office or visit FSA online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.