Producers with excessive livestock losses due to adverse natural and environmental conditions may qualify for compensation under the 2014 farm bill, according to North Dakota State University Extension Service livestock stewardship specialist Gerald Stokka.
This compensation would be for losses above and beyond those that occur under normal circumstances.
"For example, spring snow storms that result in excessive death loss of newborn calves due to hypothermia may be eligible for payments if farmers and ranchers keep documentation of losses," Stokka says. "This does not mean estimated losses, but actual numbers or tag numbers of older calves and cattle."
Losses indirectly due to adverse conditions, such as calf scours and respiratory disease, also may be eligible for compensation. These losses may be due to inadequate colostral intake and absorption as a result of the environmental conditions.
"As we do not know details of this program at this time, our advice is to document inventory," Stokka says. "Keep records of losses of calves or cows such that, at a later date when the details of the program are made public, eligibility can be determined."
Documentation with calving books, inventories of cows at pregnancy checking time or calf-working events, and date-stamped images would be useful in these cases.
"Contact and maintain a good working relationship with your veterinary clinic and Extension agent to assist in recordkeeping and causation of losses," Stokka advises