The ongoing drought continues to be a huge concern for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. There are several assistance programs available to producers who are impacted by drought. To help, Nebraska Farm Bureau has created a drought resource page for its members at nefb.org/drought-resources.
Nebraska Farm Bureau staff sat down with Bobbie Kriz-Wickham, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) public affairs/outreach coordinator in Nebraska, to answer questions about how three key programs: the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP); and CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing Program, might help producers deal with drought.
U.S. Drought Monitor: Nebraska
August 23, 2022
(Released Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022)
Valid 8 a.m. EDT
Q. How do these programs work?
A. All three of these programs LFP, ELAP and CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing, use the U.S. Drought Monitor as their main triggering mechanism. For LFP and ELAP, a county will trigger for these programs when it reaches the D2 level on the U.S. Drought Monitor for eight consecutive weeks during our grazing season. Our grazing season in Nebraska runs May 1 – Oct. 15. It’s a little different for CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing program. This also uses the drought monitor as a triggering tool, but CRP emergency haying and grazing triggers when a county hits D2 for one week.
LFP and ELAP will also trigger when a county reaches a D3 level drought on the drought monitor.
Q. What are some of the key points to LFP?
A. This program provides financial assistance to livestock producers who have grazing land that has been impacted by drought. A producer must have both risk in livestock and grazing land in order to take advantage of the financial resources available through this program. That is one of the key things, and if you happen to be leasing grazing ground, you have to be able to show that you have risk in that grazing ground through your lease during the time that the drought triggered in your county and during the normal grazing season. This is a key factor in LFP.
You have a long window to apply. You can go all the way to January of 2023, but you also can come in now to apply. So, if you are being impacted now and your county has triggered for the program, you can come in and those benefits will issued once your application is all the way through our process. We do not have to wait until the end of the application time period to release those funds.
Another important point with LFP is that you must have a current acreage report on file with FSA. While the acreage certification deadline has passed, you are still able to file an acreage report and pay a late fee.
Q. How does ELAP differ from LFP? What should producers keep in mind with this program?
A. ELAP is a program that can help producers with the cost of hauling supplemental water and feed to livestock that have been impacted by drought or with the cost of hauling livestock to a new grazing location when their existing location is impacted by drought.
Recordkeeping is an important component of ELAP. For example, if your stock pond has dried up and you must haul supplemental water, and it is something you normally wouldn’t have to do, you need to make sure you keep good records of the miles traveled, the number of trips made and the number of gallons delivered. These points are all important to receive some reimbursement of the costs of hauling water. It’s the same thing for hauling supplemental feed. If this is something you normally would not do during this time period, you should keep good records of the number of miles traveled and number of trips made in order to receive some reimbursement of the hauling expense. The third component is moving your animals to a totally different grazing location because your current grazing location is not sufficient to support those animals. Again, recordkeeping is important, and you should keep track of the miles traveled to haul those animals to a new location. The ELAP program will exclude the first 25 miles and won’t accept mileage above 1,000 miles.
The window to apply for LFP and ELAP benefits runs until January 2023, however with ELAP you must contact your FSA office within 30 days of when you determine your loss and need for the program. With this in mind, producers should contact FSA as soon as they begin to haul supplemental water or feed or prepare to move animals to a new grazing location.
Q. What are the things producers need to keep in mind for CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing?
A. Emergency grazing or haying of CRP may be authorized to provide forage relief to livestock producers in areas affected by drought. Producers must contact their county FSA office and get approval in writing before taking advantage of the CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing provisions, as they will need to work with NRCS to modify their CRP conservation plan before taking any action on their acres.
Producers who use this program will not have a reduction in their CRP rental rate.
They can hay or graze the full contract acreage that they are applying for and on any practice, but there are limitations of 90 days for grazing and that can be either consecutive 90 days or it can be split apart, but not more than 90 days. For haying the only restriction is that the CRP stand must be able to support the activity. So, if you are going to hay the whole contract acreage, you would consult with NRCS ahead of time to ensure the stand is in good enough condition to be able to support a full haying.
It should be noted that the CRP emergency haying and grazing provisions do change if LFP also triggers in the same county, so it’s important to keep in contact with your FSA office to understand these program parameters.
Q. If producers have questions what should the y do?
A. The best thing you can do is pick up the phone and call your county FSA office. Tell them you are being impacted by the drought and inquire as to which programs have triggered in your county. They will help you understand what paperwork needs to be completed, what records are needed. Then make an appointment to figure out the rest of the details so that we can get you some benefits during what is a really challenging time for a lot of producers. Additional information and program links can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/ne.