Monday, October 28, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said that farmers and ranchers may be eligible for certain federal programs even before a secretarial designation is in place.

Programs such as the Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) are available when a loss occurs.

“We are aware of fences being destroyed due to heavy, wet snow or from water running through ravines and low-lying areas. Fences have taken a toll, even fences that were established a few years ago,” Goehring said. “ECP is available to help replace border fences and cross fences.”

ECP is a cost-share program which will provide up to 75 percent of the cost to implement approved restoration practices, including eligible fence replacement. Goehring said the FSA county committee must determine if their county would be eligible for the program in order to authorize it.

ELAP provides payments to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish to help compensate for losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires. ELAP assistance is for livestock feed and grazing losses.

LIP provides benefits to livestock owners and some contract growers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality that are the direct result of an eligible adverse weather event.

Producers may inquire with FSA to see if any of these programs are applicable to their situation. “We know FSA is very busy managing many programs and we thank them for their hard work on the Market Facilitation Program, Agriculture Loss Coverage program and Price Loss Coverage program,” Goehring said. “To help keep things running smoothly, we ask that producers inquire about programs and eligibility before filling out an application.”

As of Sept. 30, 19 counties are eligible for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). WHIP+ provides payments to eligible producers who suffered eligible crop or prevented planting losses resulting from natural disasters including floods and snowstorms. A list of currently eligible counties is available at Producers not in these counties may also be eligible, but must supply documentation establishing that crops were directly impacted by a qualifying disaster event.

“Dated photos are helpful in illustrating the loss, along with a date that the adverse conditions or weather caused the loss,” Goehring said. “Be aware of harvest deadline dates and make sure you contact your agent for any remaining crop left in the field so they can appraise and adjust the loss. This information is needed when you apply for WHIP+, which works to expand coverage beyond crop insurance.”