USDA Offers Assistance to Farmers and Ranchers Affected by Fires

Published on: 17:25PM Jul 23, 2014

Just north of where I live is burning a very large forest and range fire. The latest numbers I saw showed close to 300,000 acres or about 400 square miles have been burnt and only about 20% of the fire is contained. The local USDA FSA office for Okanogan/Ferry Counties (which are two of the counties most affected by the fire) just released a notice letting farmers know that USDA has assistance available due to these wildfires.

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) will reimburse farmers for 75% of the fair market value of the livestock as of the day before death. If the farmer/rancher incurred forage losses due to fire, then assistance is available under either the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) for federally managed lands or the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for non-federal lands. This assistance is usually based on 60% of the value of the forage, however, there are certain limitations and adjustments to this (see the fact sheet links below).

Ranchers and farmers need to report these losses with-in 30 days of discovering the loss. With the wildfires still burning out of control, there may be a delay in this discovery. Also, these payments are subject to the overall $125,000 payment which may limit the relief for many of the farmers/ranchers in this area. With the high price of cattle right now, a loss of about 100 head of cattle could easily tap out the limit for the year.

Here is a fact sheet from the USDA on LIP.

Here is a fact sheet from the USDA on LFP.

Here is a fact sheet from the USDA on ELAP.