Spring Blizzard Calf Losses

Twelve Things to Know About Livestock Indemnity Payments

Victoria G Myers
By  Victoria G. Myers , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Tough conditions for many spring calvers are cutting into an already small herd, fueling strong feeder prices on the cash market. (DTN/Progressive Farmer file photo)

Blizzard conditions from the Rockies to the Upper Midwest, couldn't have come at a worse time for spring calvers. The National Weather Service reported that on the open plains of South Dakota, for example, winds were so strong during recent storms that I-90 was shut down. Reported snow totals there ranged from 18 to as much as 30 inches.

While there's no final number of cattle lost to this storm, some early estimates placed deaths in the thousands. That means for a large number of cattle producers, it's sadly time to become refamiliarized with the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and its eligibility and compensation requirements.

1. Be Timely. Mark your calendar and don't let the deadline slip by. You should file notice with the Farm Service Agency's (FSA) LIP within 30 days of your losses.

2. Go Local. Your notice of loss and application of payment are filed at the local FSA office in the county where the losses occurred.

3. Document Losses. Have the number and kind of livestock lost in the event. For injured livestock (where the injury was due to an eligible event) where an owner sold for a reduced price, the owner provides evidence of the reduced sale. The livestock must have been sold to an independent third party. Verifiable evidence includes sale receipts from a livestock auction, sale barn or other similar sale facilities; rending facility receipts; processing plant receipts.

4. Eligible Events. Losses that fall under the LIP are those "in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather, disease, or by attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government." This means eligible events include things like this most recent blizzard, but also hail, lightning, tornados, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, extreme heat, extreme cold, straight-line winds, earthquakes and eligible winter storms.

5. Livestock Types Covered. Eligible livestock under LIP include cattle, poultry, swine, sheep, horses, goats, and bison. Both owners and contract growers are eligible, although the rules are different.

6. Payment Percentage. LIP is administered by USDA's FSA. Payments are based on national rates and are about 75% of the market value of the livestock.

7. Vaccination Status. Livestock death losses due to extreme cold are eligible, regardless of vaccination status.

8. Disease Losses. Compensation for livestock death losses due to diseases caused or transmitted by a vector and not controlled by vaccination or an acceptable management practice is provided.

9. Owner Eligibility. To be eligible, the livestock owner had to legally own the livestock on the day of death and/or injury by an eligible loss condition.

10. Cause of Death. The livestock must have either died in excess of normal mortality as a direct result of an eligible loss condition or been injured as a direct result of an eligible loss condition and were sold at a reduced price.

11. Commercial Limit. Eligible livestock are those that have been maintained for commercial use as part of a farming operation and thus don't include free-roaming animals, pets, or animals used for recreational purposes (hunting, show, roping).

12. Per-head payment rates for cattle vary but follow these 2022 guidelines: bulls at $1,077.94; cows at $829.18; non-adult cattle under 250 pounds at $474.38; non-adult cattle between 250 and 399 pounds at $474.38; non-adult cattle between 400 and 799 pounds at $661.32; non-adult cattle over 800 pounds at $1,102.20.

To see this information at the USDA website in more detail, go here: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/….

Victoria Myers can be reached at vicki.myers@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @myersPF

Victoria Myers