Val Dolcini, state executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in California announced that USDA has already made more than $175 million in disaster payments to America's livestock producers after implementing two new programs in 2009. USDA leaders have expressed a commitment to rapidly meeting the goals of Congress and to provide farmers and ranchers with timely and effective disaster assistance. FSA is continuing to make payments to livestock producers for 2008 and 2009 livestock losses.

"America's farmers and ranchers deserve efficient and effective assistance programs to help get through natural disasters," said Dolcini. "USDA worked hard to get these new programs up and running quickly so we could achieve our goal of helping producers recover losses rapidly and more thoroughly."

Under the standing provisions of the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), authorized in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (farm bill), producers are better able to recover from their losses stemming from 2008 and subsequent disasters. The 2008 farm bill provisions replace previous ad-hoc disaster assistance programs and are funded through the Agricultural Disaster Relief Trust Fund.

LIP provides payments to eligible livestock owners and contract growers who suffered eligible livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality as a direct result of an eligible adverse weather event including hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires and extreme heat and cold. LFP provides payments to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock grazing losses due to qualifying drought or fire. For drought losses, LFP eligible areas are determined using the U.S. Drought Monitor, found at the FSA Web site: http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

Eligible livestock under LIP and LFP include beef cattle, alpacas, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, poultry, reindeer, sheep and swine.

LIP payments for livestock losses suffered during 2009, requires that livestock owners and contract growers file a notice of loss no later than 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent to the producer and an application for payment no later than Jan. 30, 2010.

To be eligible for 2009 calendar year grazing losses under LFP, livestock producers must submit a completed application for payment and required supporting documentation to their administrative county FSA office no later than Jan. 30, 2010.

For more information or to apply for LIP or LFP and other USDA Farm Service Agency disaster assistance programs, visit your FSA county office or http://www.fsa.usda.gov.