USDA Offers Disaster Program Update
July 11, 2014

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack provided a 12-week progress report on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs this week, announcing that USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between October 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

"Farmers and ranchers who waited two and a half years for a Farm Bill are now getting some relief," said Vilsack.

Over $1.2 billion in payments have been processed to qualifying farmers and ranchers. The first payments were sent out to farmers and ranchers within two weeks of enrollment. USDA estimated that roughly $2.5 billion would be provided in disaster relief to cover losses from October 2011 through September 2014. If those estimates prove accurate, it would mean nearly half of all disaster payments have already been provided.

While disaster relief is a critical lifeline that can prevent farmers and ranchers who do not have access to crop insurance from being wiped out by weather-related losses beyond their control, most producers only receive support equal to 60 percent of their actual losses.

The sign-up for the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program runs through Jan. 30, 2015. The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program deadline is Aug. 1, 2014.