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Livestock disaster assistance - PLIP, LFP, and emergency haying/grazing programs

by Megan Roberts, Extension educator

In mid-July, the United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced several livestock producer focused disaster assistance programs. The first topic covered in this post is the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program, which is for losses related to last spring and summer's COVID-19 related livestock marketing disruptions. The second topic is for losses currently affecting livestock producers due to this summer's ongoing drought conditions.

Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP)

The Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP) opens for application by qualified producers on July 20 and remains open until September 17. The program assists swine, chicken, and/or turkey producers who suffered financial losses due to depopulation related to COVID-19 disruptions, i.e. insufficient access to processing. Losses must have occurred between March 1 and December 26, 2020. Producers must have had ownership of the depopulated animals on the day of the loss. "Packers, live poultry dealers, and contract growers are not eligible for PLIP" and "swine that were depopulated before birth are not eligible for PLIP" (farmers.gov).

According to the USDA, "PLIP payments will compensate eligible producers for 80 percent of the loss of the eligible livestock or poultry, and for the cost of depopulation and disposal, based on a single payment rate per head. Any previous payments you received for disposal of your animals under a state program or USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program will be subtracted from the final PLIP payment amount. The payments will also be reduced by any CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 payments paid on the same inventory of swine that were depopulated." The payment rates per head already take into consideration the 80 percent compensation factor.

Minnesota is one of the states that offered its own livestock indemnity programs back in 2020.  Minnesota offered state level funding for both turkey market lost cost-share and hog depopulation cost share, so if a Minnesotan producer participated in those programs and also plans to participate in PLIP, it'd be essential to gather all records related to those cost-share payments. 

All prior payments received for the same animal(s) result in a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the gross calculated PLIP payment, or in other words: 

"Expected PLIP Payment = (PLIP Payment Rate Per Head X # Head Depopulated)  –  Previous Payments" (farmers.gov).  

Detailed up-to-date information on the program, including the payment rates per head, is available at farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance/plip or by contacting your local USDA Service Center.

Livestock Forage Program (LFP)

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor shows 35% of the state in Extreme Drought (D3) and 44% of the state in Severe Drought (D2); percentages calculated using the most recent August 3 map at the time of this post's update. Counties with any land in D3 are eligible for compensation of three payment months under the Livestock Forage Program (LFP). LFP "provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or is planted specifically for grazing" (farmers.gov). In Minnesota, counties currently qualifying include Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Hubbard, Beltrami, Pennington and more. For the most recent map of qualifying counties, see the USDA FSA Livestock Forage Program for Full Season Improved grazing land. This payment is only for qualifying livestock producers experiencing losses on qualified grazing forage crop acreage. 
Beef cattle

Detailed up-to-date information on the program is available at fsa.usda.gov LFP or by contacting your local USDA Service Center.

Emergency Haying and Grazing

Another FSA program related to drought disaster assistance is the Emergency Haying and Grazing program. Under this FSA designation, Conservation Reserve Program ground (CRP) may possibly be eligible for haying and grazing. The vast majority of Minnesota counties are in the designated emergency map for CRP haying and grazing, but don't just go cut hay or graze livestock on your CRP without checking first with your local FSA. You must have current permission on file with FSA before any emergency or non-emergency haying or grazing activity begins on CRP ground (approval is not the same as permission). The USDA reminds producers "before haying and grazing, contact your FSA county office to see if your county remains eligible and/or to obtain a modified conservation plan." The modified conservation plan must be site specific, include the authorized duration, and reflect local wildlife needs and concerns. After you receive permission and file the necessary paperwork, which also included specifying the number of acres, location of acres on a map, and timing, you are still subject to FSA spot-check at any time during the authorization period of the haying and grazing. There are not CRP annual rental payment reductions for emergency haying and grazing authorizations, while non-emergency authorizations typically result in a 25% payment reduction.

D2 versus D3 status can impact ability to graze and hay, as did the primary nesting season (PNS) date in Minnesota of August 1. The Minnesota FSA office reminds producers, "if the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) triggers for implementation in the county, the provisions for CRP emergency haying and grazing change, with restrictions on grazing carrying capacity and restrictions on the practices which can be hayed. The county FSA office will be able to outline these changes for CRP contract holders." This interaction between LFP and emergency haying and grazing is important to note as drought intensifies and spreads across Minnesota. 

If interested in haying or grazing your CRP, it is essential to contact your local FSA office to determine eligibility parameters and understand if you can obtain permission for emergency or non-emergency haying and grazing based on current drought status and restrictions in your county. For more information on USDA drought assistance programs, see the farmers.gov disaster at a glance resource

Disaster Loans

The state of Minnesota is also offering drought assistance for affected farmers. For example, the Rural Finance Authority announced on July 14 the RFA portion of  disaster loans are set at zero percent interest and are now available for any Minnesota counties designated as severe drought as severe drought or worse (D2+) by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Contiguous counties adjacent to severe drought are eligible to apply, too.

At the federal level, the Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is approved for financial losses suffered by small businesses, including farm-related entities, as a direct result of the continued drought. These low-interest loans are offered directly through SBA in areas with official disaster declarations.

For more drought related information, see the UMN Extension's extreme weather resources page. 

The information in this blog is subject to change as drought conditions update and programs are modified. This post was updated on August 7 to reflect additional information on emergency haying and grazing, as well as updated drought condition statistics. 


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