USDA Livestock Disaster Aid Details

Disaster Payments Coming for Drought-Stricken Livestock Producers Hit by High Feed Costs in 2021

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Livestock producers who were approved for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program will automatically qualify for disaster aid payments under USDA's Emergency Livestock Relief Program. USDA released details for the aid for livestock producers on Thursday. (DTN file photo by Matthew Wilde)

OMAHA (DTN) -- More than 100,000 livestock producers who suffered forage losses from droughts or wildfires in 2021 should soon begin receiving payments under a new USDA disaster program, the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP), which is expected to pay out more than $577 million in the first phase of payments.

Ranchers who have approved applications through USDA's Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for forage losses will receive payments for more expensive supplemental feed costs under ELRP. USDA stated on Thursday the payments should be delivered "within days."

The ELRP comes from $10 billion in disaster aid provided by Congress last fall, which included $750 million specifically for livestock producers. In creating ELRP, USDA shifts away from using the Wildlife and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP-Plus) program name and acronym for the new round of disaster payments.

Rather than generate a new application process, USDA is using the more than 100,000 applications the department received under the LFP that total nearly $670 million in payments.

To be eligible for the ELRP, a producer must have suffered grazing losses in a county having at least a D2 severe drought designation under the U.S. Drought Monitor for eight consecutive weeks in 2021 or saw drought conditions increase to D3 extreme drought or higher during 2021. Producers also must have applied for and been approved for the 2021 LFP. Producers who grazed animals on federally managed lands affected by wildfires also are eligible for ELRP payments.

For most livestock producers, the phase-one payments under ELRP will equal 75% of the livestock producer's gross 2021 LFP calculated payment. Producers who are considered historically underserved, or beginning, or veteran farmers or ranchers, or producers with limited resources will be eligible for 90% of their 2021 LFP payment. To qualify for those higher payments, producers must have CCC-860 form "Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification" on file for 2021.

USDA expects the first round of payments under ELRP to be more than $577 million. To send out payments quickly, the Farm Service Agency will use livestock inventories and other information such as drought-affected acreage or limits facing producers for grazing days under the LFP application form.

A second phase of payments will come later as FSA noted the agency continues looking at the impacts of the 2021 drought and wildfires on livestock producers, as well as ensuring aid relief is equitable and inclusive.


USDA continues to work on another two-phase process to provide the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) for row crops and specialty crop operations hit by natural disasters in 2020 or 2021. Phase one of that aid will use data from the Federal Crop Insurance Program or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to calculate initial payments. A second phase of payments will fill additional gaps for producers who did not participate in existing risk-management programs as well.

More information on the Emergency Livestock Relief Program can be found at…

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Chris Clayton