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Livestock Loss Assistance Available

Updated April 06, 2023
Professional headshot of Heather Gessner

Heather Gessner

SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist

Summary of Program and Coverage Levels

USDA Farm Service Agency on phone with producer.
Similar to crop insurance indemnity payments, the Livestock Indemnity Program helps mitigate the financial impact of sudden livestock losses. Courtesy: USDA Farm Service Agency

The Livestock Indemnity Program (abbreviated as LIP) was reauthorized, with some amendments, with the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, enacted on February 9, 2018. LIP is designed to pay livestock owners or contract growers who experience excess livestock deaths due to adverse weather, including winter storms, floods, extreme cold and blizzards, eligible diseases, and eligible attacks.

LIP compensates producers at a rate of 75% of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the livestock died, as determined by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Additionally, an amendment compensated for animals injured during a qualified weather event and sold at a reduced price.

Eligible livestock includes various classes of beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses, poultry, bison, and select other species. Additionally, eligible livestock must be considered as part of the farming operation. Animals produced for non-commercial means, including wild, free-roaming animals, pets, or animals used for recreational purposes, such as hunting, roping, or show, are not covered by LIP.

The livestock owner must have legally owned the livestock on the day the animal died or was injured by an eligible loss condition to qualify for LIP compensation. The death loss must be over normal mortality or injured as a direct result of the qualifying weather event. Contract growers of poultry and swine may also qualify if the animals that died were in the possession and control of the contract grower and a written agreement stating specific terms, conditions, and obligations of the involved parties were in place with the owner on the day the animals died. Contract growers are not eligible for losses due to injured animals sold at a discount.

Normal Mortality

The mortality rates in Table 1 establish “normal” losses for South Dakota producers under “normal” production cycles. Death losses above normal mortality due to adverse weather, eligible disease, and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the Federal Government would be considered a qualifying loss for LIP.

Table 1. South Dakota Mortality Rates, per FSA

Livestock Description 
Weight Range 
Mortality Rate
Less than 400 pounds
400 to 700 pounds
800 pounds or more 
Cow or Bull 
Sheep-Rams and Ewes 
Goats-bucks and Does
Turkeys-Toms, Fryers, Roasters 

Similar to crop insurance indemnity payments, the LIP program is not designed to cover all losses, but to help mitigate the financial effect felt by the producer incurring the loss.

Loss Documentation

Animal inventory records are a requirement to qualify for LIP. Documentation and records should include the quantity of the livestock, its kind/type, and estimated weight of all animals and those injured or killed by the adverse condition.

Injured animals must sell to an independent third party. Examples of verification for animals injured and sold at a reduced price include, but are not limited to: sales receipts from a livestock auction, sale barn or another similar facility, rendering facility receipts or processing plan receipts. These receipts must include the price the animal sold for, kind, type, and weight.

Contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency (abbreviated as FSA) office for questions on qualifying documentation. A list of South Dakota offices can be found at the USDA Service Center Locator website. Once there, click "South Dakota" on the map.

Producers are encouraged to check with their local office for more information. Historically, the following types of documentation have been permissible:

  • 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.
Producer reviewing an aid application with a USDA FSA agent.
Contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office for questions on qualifying documentation. Courtesy: USDA Farm Service Agency


Owners and growers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of the loss and apply for payment within 60 days after the calendar year in which the eligible loss occurred.

Payment Rates

USDA has not released the 2019 LIP payment rates. Once rates are released, producers can file a payment application. Producers must still file the notice of loss based on the information above.

Additional Assistance

Producers facing expenses above the normal cost of doing business due to moving snow from feed resources may qualify for financial assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (abbreviated as ELAP). These expenses must be related to an eligible weather event. Contact your local FSA office to determine if the expense qualifies for reimbursement.

More Information