FSA Now Ready, Willing and Able to Work With Producers on Disaster AssistanceFri, 18 Apr 2014 12:08:17 CDT
Farmers and ranchers can now sign up for USDA disaster assistance programs restored by the 2014 farm bill. That includes the livestock forage disaster program, the livestock indemnity program as well as ELAP, the emergency assistance program for livestock, honeybees and farm raised fish.
Kristina Butts, executive director of legislative affairs with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in Washington, D. C., says the USDA has been working diligently since the passage of the bill to get the disaster programs up and running.
"It's good news. Our legislative conference was going on here in Washington just last week and quite a few of our producers actually joined NCBA staff for a meeting with the Farm Service Agency and their administrator, talking about these programs, what it means for cattle producers and thanking them for the time we know they've invested in trying to get these programs up and going."
FSA employees have been undergoing training in the specifics of the three disaster programs which apply for 2012, 2013 and, now, into 2014. Butts says it is imperative that producers have their records in order when beginning the application process.
"Some of the records that might be required or requested is obviously ownership of livestock or the cattle: any types of invoices or feed bills, etc., if you're looking for the livestock forage program or other of these programs that FSA has available to producers."
She said it is worth a phone call to the FSA office to inquire about what specific documents are required for specific programs before going to the FSA office to begin the application process.
"The message that we heard from headquarters last week when our members were in town is that they're here to help. They want to work with producers. They want to be able to provide this assistance. They realize that since we haven't had disaster assistance since 2011 that there's going to be a lot of questions along the way, but FSA is really looking forward to working with producers throughout the country to try to get them the assistance they need as soon as possible."
Butts said the disaster programs cover a wide range of natural disasters including drought, floods, fires, and blizzards.
"Producers that have experienced any of that and have the documentation need to make a trip down to their county FSA office and start those conversations about what benefits they might have available for them under this disaster package."
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