It’s not over yet; not by a long shot. There is a much larger number of producers in Nebraska who suffered livestock losses compared to those impacted in 2018. Losses have also been high across the central and northern Plains, and surrounding region. Nearly 300 Nebraska cattlemen and cattle-women have already fully processed their claims, with numerous others on the way.
“As of June 27, Nebraska has paid $1,986,594 to producers on 296 completed LIP applications for calendar year 2019. As of July 9, we have 3,592 LIP applications that are awaiting producer action (such as supplying supporting paperwork) before those applications can be acted upon for potential payment. By comparison, for 2018 (the full year,) we issued $877,024 in funds on 181 LIP applications,” said Bobbie Kriz-Wickham, Public Affairs and Outreach Coordinator for U.D.S.A. Farm Service Agency in Lincoln, Neb.
The applications for the Livestock Indemnity Program were mostly for cattle losses, including cows, calves and bulls.
“As a result of flooding, there were some claims for other livestock, including swine losses. However, because of how the database operates, we cannot easily delineate number of head, weather event, or type of livestock,” said Kriz-Wickham. The Livestock Indemnity Program financially assists producers with livestock losses above normal mortality that are due to an adverse weather event. “We had producers, with various scales of losses, file LIP Notice of Loss paperwork due to the flooding and blizzard conditions, as well as the extended cold and wet weather from late January through early March,” noted Kriz-Wickham.
Slammed with the winter’s huge ice chunks that suddenly melted into historic early spring flooding…Nebraska also received nearly 300 livestock-challenged phone inquiries monthly to the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline.
“We’ve talked with at least 278 producers and farmers throughout Nebraska, so we’re averaging 300 phone calls a month,” said Michelle Soll, Farm and Ranch Project Director of Legal Aid of Nebraska and a Responder on the Rural Response Hotline.
“Most calls are about stress, fatigue and there’s still a lot of ground under water. There’s been flooding going on off the Missouri River and on other rivers, so that ground is not planted,” Soll told LivestockWx.com in early July.
There are at least a couple of Nebraska cases – in which livestock producers lost 30 calves…others lost cows.
The Rural Response Hotline (1-800-464-0258) was created in the early 1980’s to assist Nebraska farm and ranch families when financial pressure, legal and emotional stress reached a crisis point. Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska formed a coalition to help, and joined resources with representatives from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Farmers Union, Legal Aid of Nebraska, Women in Farm Economics, University of Nebraska Ag-Extension and lenders. The staff at the Rural Response Hotline includes an attorney and several financial advisers, in addition to responders who assist people with challenging emotional concerns while experiencing crises on the farm and ranch. The Rural Response Hotline team also offers state and transition planning and holds farm finance clinics.
While many producers and farmers have submitted their claims through the LIP, they actually have until March 2020 to complete the forms, as the application process involves a few phases.
“Nebraska and Kansas would operate LIP the same way. The application process for LIP involves a couple parts; the first being the Notice of Loss report, which must be filed within 30 days of when the livestock loss becomes apparent. The remainder of the application; including supporting paperwork, does not have to be filed until 60 days after the end of the calendar year in which the loss occurred,” explained Kriz-Wickham.
Regarding when producers would receive LIP financial assistance…once producers have turned in their timely supporting paperwork, their application can be processed for approval and, if approved, it is then funded at that time. “Some producers in Nebraska already have received LIP benefits for losses suffered this calendar year,” Kriz-Wickham noted.
This is also the first time that such a large amount of acres of corn and soybeans have been affected by so many farmers. “In some cases, there have been 70 or 80 acres, or more in whatever the rotational crop is, at that point,” noted Soll. “Nebraska’s loss is really tough. People are still trying to rebound and count totals. There’s a lot of stress from livestock losses.”
South of the Nebraska border, Kansas livestock producers also haven’t had an easy winter/spring…although not comparable to Nebraska’s whopping LIP calculations. There were still more than typical amounts of LIP claims already filed in Kansas.
“Our livestock producers have experienced a challenging spring calving season this year due to cold, excessive moisture, and flooding conditions. Many producers lost calves due to the bad conditions, there were not as many adult cows lost. Although I do not have substantial numbers, I expect to see losses from the majority of counties in the state,” said Emily Evans, Agricultural Program Specialist; Kansas Farm Service Agency State Office based in Manhattan, Kan.
Less than a half hour south of the Nebraska/Kansas border; in north central Kansas, is one such county where producers experienced difficult livestock losses.
“Yes, Republic County, Kansas has about 110 Notice of Losses filed for 2019 LIP – compared to last year with zero Notice of Losses filed under LIP. The majority of the Notice of Losses were filed due to the extreme cold, there are a few losses due to blizzard as well,” said Sarah Heeger, County Executive Director/Republic County FSA in Belleville, Kansas.
Heeger said most of the losses are newborn calves. The agency has also received claims for a couple of losses on newborn lambs.
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) ‘to provide benefits to eligible livestock owners or contract growers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality or reduced sale prices for owned livestock due to injury caused by eligible loss conditions, which include adverse weather.’ LIP is handled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA).
For more information on the Rural Response Hotline:
1-800-464-0258 and https://imneb.org/imn-programs/farming/rural-response-hotline/