California's USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Val Dolcini, reminds eligible ranchers and livestock producers of the December 10, 2009 deadline for applying for benefits under the provisions of the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for losses incurred during calendar year 2008. For losses incurred during the 2009 calendar year, the deadline to apply for benefits is January 30, 2010.

LFP provides payments to eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock grazing losses due to qualifying drought or fire. Fire losses apply only to federally managed rangeland. Eligible livestock under LFP include beef cattle, alpacas, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep and swine. For losses due to drought, qualifying drought ratings are determined using the U.S. Drought Monitor located at http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html.

“It is imperative that livestock producers meet these deadlines for disaster assistance as there are no late file provisions for LFP, said” Dolcini. “To ensure a smooth application process, producers should have all required supporting documentation with them at the time they visit our office to apply for benefits.”

In order for an LFP applicant to qualify for program benefits, the applicant must have purchased insurance coverage through FSA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). Producers who meet the requirements of a socially disadvantaged, limited resource, or beginning farmers or ranchers, as defined in the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, Section 2501 (e) (7 U.S.C. 2279(e)), do not have to meet this Risk Management Purchase Requirement (RMPR) and, therefore, are not required to have purchased NAP coverage.

LFP program applicants should note that in addition to risk management provisions, certain payment limitation and adjusted gross income eligibility requirements must be met in order to qualify for livestock disaster program benefits.

For more information or to apply for LFP and other USDA Farm Service Agency disaster assistance programs, please contact your nearest local FSA office. For a list of FSA offices in California, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/ca or call 530-792-5520.