ST. PAUL — Minnesota agricultural operations have been significantly impacted by the ongoing, severe drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover.

Producers who experience livestock deaths and feed losses due to natural disasters may be eligible for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program. This program also provides eligible producers with compensation for expenses associated with transporting water to livestock physically located in a county that is designated as level “D3 Drought - Extreme” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. For ELAP, producers will need to file a notice of livestock loss within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent.

Livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to drought in 2021 may be eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. A map of eligible counties for LFP drought may be found on the FSA website https://www.fsa.usda.gov).

Additionally, emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres may be authorized (outside of the primary nesting season) to provide relief to livestock producers in areas affected by a severe drought or similar natural disaster. Emergency haying and grazing status is reviewed and authorized each Thursday using the U.S. Drought Monitor. Counties are approved for emergency haying and grazing due to drought conditions on a county by county basis, when a county is designated as level “D2 Drought - Severe” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers may be eligible for cost-share assistance through the Tree Assistance Program to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes or vines lost during the drought. This complements Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) or crop insurance coverage, which covers the crop but not the plants or trees in all cases. For TAP, a program application must be filed within 90 days.

“Be sure to contact your local FSA office to timely report all crop, livestock and farm losses due to drought or other natural disasters as soon as you are aware,” said Michelle Page acting state executive director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Minnesota. “To expedite FSA disaster assistance, you will likely need to provide documents, such as farm records, herd inventory, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.”

FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed loans, including operating and emergency loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing. Producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs.

On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options.

This article was submitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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