Warren County livestock farmers can get assistance through U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster assistance program

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith recently encouraged livestock producers in Mississippi to consider U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs to help them recover financially from the prolonged drought affecting much of the state.

Forty-four Mississippi counties are currently experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is updated weekly to show the location and intensity of drought across the country.

“The ongoing drought in Mississippi has caused significant loss in forage availability. I’ve heard from so many livestock producers who are being forced to either suffer tremendous feed and transportation expenses or to sell their cattle because they can’t afford to keep them,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee as well as the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

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“Livestock producers in Mississippi may not be familiar with USDA drought assistance programs because we don’t often suffer such extended and severe drought conditions,” she added. “I encourage affected producers to contact their local Farm Service Agency office to discuss participation in the Livestock Forage Disaster Program andor the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program. Both programs could be useful as we deal with these extremely dry conditions.”

Congress provided permanent authorization and funding for several agricultural disaster assistance programs, including the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP), in the 2014 Farm Bill. Both programs are administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)

LFP offers support to producers in eligible counties who have suffered grazing losses due to a qualifying drought.

A USDA fact sheet for LFP, with information on eligibility and payment calculations, is available here.

ELAP covers losses associated with additional costs of transporting water, hauling feed, or hauling livestock to alternative feeding locations. An ELAP fact sheet is available here.

Eligibility for these programs is based on the U.S. Drought Monitor for producers in counties described as having D2 (severe drought) conditions for at least eight consecutive weeks; or either D3 (extreme drought) or D4 (exceptional drought) conditions at any time during the normal grazing period.

The following Mississippi counties are currently listed as experiencing D3 or D4 drought conditions, which makes them eligible for LFP and ELAP: Adams, Amite, Attala, Claiborne, Copiah, Covington, Forrest, Franklin, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lawrence, Leake, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, Neshoba, Newton, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, Stone, Walthall, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wilkinson and Yazoo.

FSA, among other things, provides services related to loans and disaster assistance programs. To find a local FSA office visit this site: https://www.farmers.gov/working-with-us/service-center-locator