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Agricultural News

Livestock Producers Pushed to Beat Tuesday's Deadline for Drought Assistance

Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:53:43 CDT

Livestock Producers Pushed to Beat Tuesday's Deadline for Drought Assistance
Livestock producers across the state are beginning to see some government support for the devastating drought that hit the state over four years ago. The 2014 Agricultural Act known as the Farm Bill included support for livestock producers who have suffered from drought, wild fires and in some parts of the country with blizzards. Oklahoma FSA State Executive Director Francie Tolle said FSA offices have been busy helping producers since the disaster programs were rolled out last spring.

"We started the Livestock Forage Program, LFP, April 15th and really have been incredibly busy in our offices across the state," Tolle said.

This program LFP program has been made retroactive to October 2011. With the ongoing drought designation for Oklahoma, livestock producers are eligible for drought assistance for all four years. For many producers this may be their first time to go into a FSA office because this is the only program dedicated to livestock producers in the Farm Bill. If producers have not had their acres certified, then that is often the first step that is taken so producers can be eligible for drought assistance. Depending on the farm's history with FSA will determine how long it will take to process the application. Tolle said since April the FSA has worked through a lot of challenges with the computer system. She said right now processing is going fairly smooth.

Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Tolle about the livestock disaster program signup. You can listen to the full report by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

Tolle said they are seeing a lot of producers for the first time, so its hard to estimate how many producers will be applying for assistance. She estimates less than half of the producers eligible for the program have completed enrollment into the livestock disaster programs.

"Payments have been significant, we're over $560 million dollars in Oklahoma and no where near finished right now," Tolle said. "While those payments don't make people whole, they are helping people rebuild herds and what they need to do to catch up."

Oklahoma Livestock producers are eligible for disaster assistance for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. With the widespread drought, she believes USDA has the potential to disperse over $1 billion to Oklahoma producers alone.

If producers have not enrolled yet, Tolle recommends they get into their local FSA office by Tuesday, September 30th. October first is the start of a new federal fiscal year and with Congress passing the Budget Control Act of 2011, payments for the livestock forage disaster program will be reduced by 7.3 percent next Wednesday.

Tolle said USDA has created a register list that producers can get on by calling into their local FSA office or by signing up online. By being on this register list, producers are eligible for the full disaster payment.



Ron Hays interviews state Executive Director Francie Tolle
right-click to download mp3


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