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Available Disaster Resources Given Recent Weather Events

Written collaboratively by Tracey Erickson; Tom Peterson, SDDP Executive Director; and Dani Hanson, Policy Advisor SD Department of Agriculture.

Given the recent havoc endured by producers in the upper mid-west by the spring blizzard or even prior flooding we are aware that many producers have incurred losses. This has come in the form of either livestock death, feed loss, power outages or possibly even having to dump milk due to impassible roads. There are several programs available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help provide assistance. As a reminder documentation of your losses and keeping track of timelines will be critical as you work through applying for the assistance. Producers are also encouraged to reach out to your local county FSA office to learn more about what assistance might be available.

Dairy producers that have been forced to dump milk due to recent weather-related events are encouraged to visit with their milk processor to see if there are programs in place that offer limited protection for milk having to be discarded due to impassible roads. Documentation of date and loss incurred for dumped milk is recommended.

Available Programs

Programs that are presently available include:

Livestock Indemnity Program

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) which is available for livestock owners or contract growers through the USDA Farm Service Agency. Covered livestock include, but are not limited to cattle, poultry, swine, sheep and goats. Producers must file a Notice of Loss with FSA within 30 days of when the loss is apparent. Thus, if losses were incurred due to the flooding earlier you may be approaching your window of eligibility for reporting the loss.

Losses in excess of normal mortality are covered under LIP and producers need to provide a verifiable inventory and death loss records by livestock class. Payments are 75% of the market value of applicable livestock for livestock owners and 75% of the average income loss sustained by the contract grower. For more details on the program and documentation records needed please refer to the following article on the LIP program – Livestock Loss Assistance or contact your FSA office. Historically, the following documentation has been allowable under the program, however producers are still encouraged to check with your local FSA office.

  • Bank or other loan documents
  • Rendering truck receipts or certificates
  • Written contracts
  • Purchase records
  • Production records
  • Property tax records
  • Brand inspection records
  • Pictures (preferably dated)
  • Vaccination records
  • Combination of veterinary records, balance sheets, inventories for tax records, loan records, bank statements and private insurance documents.
  • Third-party certification.

Additionally, documenting the type or weight of the animal lost will also be critical.

Emergency Livestock Assistance Program

Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) is also administered by FSA and provides financial assistance for additional feed costs incurred as a direct result of feed lost due to flooding or excessive snow. Financial assistance for increased costs associated with snow removal may also be available under ELAP. Keep in mind you will also need to file a Notice of Loss within 30 days along with submit receipts documenting costs associated with additional feed purchases or excess snow removal.

Emergency Conservation Program

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) also through FSA provides assistance to help with costs associated with debris removal and repairs to farmlands damaged by flooding or other eligible disaster conditions. As a condition of eligibility for this program the National Environmental Preservation Act (NEPA) and Cultural Resources reviews must be completed prior to the onset of work. Documentation of additional expenses is required and you need to contact your local FSA office concerning county specific ECP application periods.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service has financial assistance available through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) program for implementation and replacement of needed conservation practices impacted due to a natural disaster. You will need to apply prior to starting work on a project to be eligible for assistance.

Emergency Loans

Emergency loans are provided through the FSA to help producers are located in a designated disaster area or contiguous county with a Presidential Disaster Declaration, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Designation, FSA Administrator’s Physical Loss Notification (APLN) or U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Quarantine Designation. Current FSA borrowers in these counties may be eligible for disaster set aside assistance.

Farm Stress Help

We also need to remember it is times like this that can be extremely stressful and checking up on neighbors and friends is vital to enduring stressful times such as these. This may be as simple as having a cup of coffee and listening for a few minutes. However, if you or someone you know is in need of help please call 211 for immediate support, view resources at the Helpline Center, contact the Avera Farmer Stress Hotline at 800-691-4336 or for suicide prevention call 800-273-8255.

More Information

For more details on these programs you can contact any of the following agencies or refer to the SD Department of Agriculture Summary of the Disaster Resources as of March 2019 or visit their website.

Farm Service Agency
200 Fourth Street SW
Huron, South Dakota 57350

Natural Resources Conservation Service
200 Fourth Street SW
Huron, South Dakota 57350

South Dakota Department of Agriculture
523 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, South Dakota 57501