USDA Risk Management & Disaster Assistance Programs for Farmers and Ranchers
Federal Crop Insurance Program
The Federal Crop Insurance Program, managed by USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA), is the primary source of risk management protection for U.S. farmers. Almost 80 percent of the Nation's insurable acreage is included in the program. Based on current production conditions, USDA is estimating that the program will provide over $4 billion in indemnity payments in 2002, mostly for production losses for the major commodities. Only a limited amount of pasture and hay crops are insured and limited protection is being offered for livestock losses at the present time. Further, many specialty crops are without coverage. RMA is working to extend much needed protection to America's ranchers. RMA's first two livestock pilots http://www.rma.usda.gov/news/2002/07/020710lrplgm.html for swine were introduced last summer and in April 2003 approved an expanded livestock pilot program to include fed and feeder cattle http://www.rma.usda.gov/news/r-and-d/2003/pdf/rd03-019.pdf. Other products are under Board review. They are also endeavoring to refine, develop and expand forage and rangeland programs.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
NAP is for crops for which crop insurance is not available. It provides assistance for farmers who grow such crops, limiting their losses from natural disaster and helping to manage their overall business risk.
Crop Disaster Program (CDP)
The CDP provides payments to producers for qualifying losses to crops due to damaging weather or related conditions. The losses must be in excess of 35% for either the 2001 or 2002 crop. A producer is ineligible for this program if they did not purchase crop insurance or the noninsured crop disaster assistance program (NAP) unless the producer agrees to purchase crop insurance and/or NAP for each of the next two years. If the producer fails to purchase coverage, the producer must refund the disaster payment. A producer's disaster payment plus crop insurance payment cannot exceed 95% value of the crop they would have received if they had not suffered a loss. Signup for CDP beings on June 6 with payments beginning shortly thereafter. A downloadable payment calculator spreadsheet to help estimate a producer's crop disaster payment can be obtained at USDA's Disaster Assistance Website - http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/agas03.htm#CDP
Livestock Compensation Program (LCP)
The Livestock Compensation Program (LCP) provides assistance for cattle, sheep, goat, buffalo and catfish producers in counties that have received primary disaster designation due to drought in between January 1, 2001 and February 20, 2003 and subsequently approved are eligible for LCP. Signup began on April 1, 2003 and ends early June 2003.
To view a fact sheet on the Livestock Compensation Program, go to http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/facts/html/LCP03.htm
To view a list of eligible counties, go to http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/usdaprimarydes0319.pdf
Livestock Assistance Program (LAP)
LAP will reimburse producers for grazing losses suffered in either 2001 or 2002. This $250 million program addresses the needs of producers not adequately covered by the LCP. Signup begins in July 2003. For a list of eligible counties, go to http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/usdaprimarydes0319.pdf
Livestock Feed Assistance Program
In April 2003, USDA announced a new Livestock Feed Assistance Program for livestock operators in areas hit hardest by drought. Surplus stocks of non-fat dry milk in the production of the feed will be provided at a minimal costs to states with eligible counties, which initially included Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. The U.S. Drought Monitor will be used to determine which counties are eligible and will be re-evaluated every 30 days to ensure the program is targeted to producers greatest in need. Eligible livestock are foundation herds (breeding and replacement stock) of beef cattle, buffalo, sheep and goats. For additional information, go to http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/ndm.htm
USDA’s FSA operates “Haynet” that serves as an electronic bulletin board where ranchers in needs of hay can find critical information about the nearest supply. For additional information, go to http://www.fsa.usda.gov/haynet
Emergency Loan (EM) Assistance
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides low-interest EM loan assistance to eligible farmers to help cover production and physical losses in counties declared as disaster areas by the President or designated by the Secretary of Agriculture. The FSA Administrator may also authorize EM loan assistance to cover physical losses only.
Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)
ECP shares with agricultural producers the cost of rehabilitating eligible farmlands damaged by natural disaster. During severe drought, ECP also provides emergency water assistance - both for livestock and for existing irrigation systems for orchards and vineyards. ECP may be made available in areas without regard to a Presidential or Secretarial emergency disaster designation.
Emergency Haying and Grazing Assistance
Emergency haying and grazing of certain Conservation Reserve Program acreage may be made available in areas suffering from weather-related natural disaster. Requests for assistance may be initiated by FSA county committees. The State committee then makes a recommendation to the Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs. Determinations are made on a county-by-county basis. If approved, harvesting of hay and/or livestock grazing is allowed on cropland that has been removed from production of annual program crops, such as wheat and feed grains, and devoted to a long-term resource-conserving cover. To protect wildlife during the primary nesting season, other limits also may be imposed. On September 9, 2002 USDA authorized emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres nationally to provide relief for farmers and ranchers in areas hardest hit by drought and other natural disasters.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides farmers with financial and technical assistance to address resource issues resulting from severe water shortages such as those induced by drought. USDA directed $10 million of EQIP funding in fiscal year 2002 to States severely impacted by drought.
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)
The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, managed by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRSC), is a voluntary program for people who want to improve or develop fish and wildlife habitat on non-federal lands. The program is designed to provide both technical assistance and cost sharing to help establish and enhance habitat. UDSA has encouraged landowners whose property has been impacted by drought conditions to apply for assistance through this program.