“What do I do if…?
Below you will find a list of resources for farmers and ranchers impacted by natural disasters including drought, wildfires, blizzards, flooding, etc. The list is broken down into questions farmers, ranchers, and others may be asking in the wake of these disasters. While not all inclusive, it is a best attempt at providing as much information to farmers and ranchers as we can. To view a factsheet of the disaster programs available from USDA, please click here.
Please note the importance of producing and maintaining documentation and contacting your local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) or Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Office when applying for any assistance. To find your local USDA office, please visit here.
It is also important to call your insurance agent to see what losses are covered by your insurance policies. Conducting regular insurance policy reviews is always recommended.
What do I do if I’m feeling overwhelmed?
If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed with stress, depression, or other mental health issues, please don’t hesitate to call the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has a Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990.
What do I do if I’ve lost livestock in a natural disaster?
USDA has programs available to livestock producers who have suffered excess livestock deaths due to natural disasters. Those programs are detailed below:
Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP): LIP financially assists producers when they suffer loss of livestock due to adverse weather. To learn more about LIP, please click here.
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP): ELAP covers some livestock losses that do not fall under the LIP. To learn more about ELAP, please click here.
A Few Things to Remember
- These programs are designed to help producers who lost livestock, however, please know these programs aren’t designed to make producers financially “whole.”
- Livestock that have died or have been sold due to natural disaster are eligible for payments.
- Producers looking to utilize LIP must file a “Notice of Loss” with your local FSA office within 30 days of when the loss was first apparent.
- Both of these programs require documentation in order to utilize the program. Please be sure to maintain records of losses and contact your local FSA office so you know exactly the type of records you will need to turn into the office with your paperwork.
What do I do if I’ve lost/need livestock feed (hay, pasture, etc.) because of a natural disaster?
USDA also has programs available to livestock producers who have lost livestock feed due to natural disasters including drought. Those programs are detailed below:
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP): ELAP will be the primary program to examine if you lose livestock feed due to natural disasters including baled hay. To learn more about ELAP, please click here.
Emergency Conservation Program (ECP): ECP can provide cost-share assistance to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. It is critical that producers contact their local USDA office about this program before taking any action to repair damages. To learn more about ECP, please click here.
Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP): LFP provides payments to livestock producers if they suffered grazing losses due to drought when grazing land or pastureland is physically located in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 intensity for eight consecutive weeks or hits D3 drought intensity or greater for any length of time. FSA maintains a list of counties eligible for LFP and makes updates each Thursday. To learn more about LFP, please click here.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Haying and Grazing: Emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres may be authorized to provide relief to livestock producers in areas affected by a severe drought or similar natural disaster prior or before the primary nesting season (Nebraska: May 1-July 15). Counties are approved for emergency haying and grazing due to drought conditions on a county-by-county basis, when a county is designated as level “D2 Drought – Severe” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Requests for emergency haying and grazing for a county may also be initiated by the FSA County Committee if they can document a 40 percent or greater loss of forage production due to the disaster event. To learn more about haying and grazing of CRP please click here.
A Few Things to Remember
- ELAP was updated to help cover the cost of transporting feed for livestock that rely on grazing. USDA has expanded the program to help ranchers cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage or other grazing acres. To view an online tool created to help producers estimate payments under this provision, please click here. This includes places where:
- Drought intensity is D2 for eight consecutive weeks as indicated by the U.S. Drought Monitor;
- Drought intensity is D3 or greater; or
- USDA has determined a shortage of local or regional feed availability.
What do I do if I’ve lost fencing?
Emergency Conservation Program (ECP): ECP can provide cost-share assistance to repair or replace fencing damaged by natural disasters. Again, it is critical that producers contact their local USDA office about this program before taking any action to repair damages. To learn more about ECP, please click here.
A Few Things to Remember
- ECP coverage for fencing problems was recently expanded to include a separate provision to assist with repairing damaged fencing not just replacing it.
- Replacing fence utilizing ECP requires producers to replace fence with one that meets NRCS standards and specifications.
- Producers wanting to utilize the new “repair” provisions would not be required to meet NRCS standards or specifications, not be required to have the repair inspected (still subject to a potential spot check) and would require a producer to self-certify the repair. The payment rate for repairs is less than the replacement rate and does not include some of the regulations that lead some producers not to utilize the program.
What do I do with dead livestock?
If utilizing on-site burial, the animal must be placed at least four feet below the surface of the ground. The utilization of burning and composting are also allowed under certain conditions. For more information, contact the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) Waste Management Section: 402-471-4210 or click here for a factsheet detailing the regulations on livestock carcass disposal.
What do I do if my field is full of debris and/or sand?
The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) is what farmers and ranchers would utilize in this situation. If you are looking to utilize the ECP cost-sharing, make sure you call into your local FSA office before you begin clearing your property.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is also available to help producers recover and better withstand future flooding. To learn more about EQIP, click here.
The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program provides assistance to local sponsors (not individuals) with the cost of addressing watershed impairments or hazards like debris removal and streambank stabilization. To learn more about the program click here.
What do I do if I have flood-damaged stored grain or hay?
At this time there isn’t a program that covers on-farm stored grain that has been damaged due to natural disasters. There are specific NDEE rules regarding the disposal of damaged grain. Click here for more information on these rules. Individuals with damaged hay could be eligible for assistance through USDA’s Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP). To learn more about ELAP, click here.
What do I do if my home or business was destroyed?
Individuals in areas given a federal disaster designation can apply for grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To learn more about this process, please visit www.disasterassistance.gov.