Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that more than $8 million in disaster assistance will be issued starting immediately to livestock, honeybee and farm-raised fish producers that suffered losses in 2010 because of disease, adverse weather or other conditions. The aid will come from the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP).

"ELAP is an important tool to help producers of America's livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish stay in business after they experience significant losses because of natural disasters," Vilsack said. "A healthy livestock, honeybee and fish industry is vital to America's food supply and economy."

Included in the $8 million is more than $5 million to compensate beekeepers for 2010 losses. Under ELAP, producers are compensated for losses that are not covered through other disaster assistance programs established by the 2008 Farm Bill, specifically the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program.

ELAP sign-up for 2011 losses is under way. Producers with 2011 losses must file an ELAP application no later than Jan. 30, 2012. They also must file a notice of loss within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent to the producer or Oct. 31, 2011, whichever date is earlier. ELAP benefits related to 2011 losses are expected to be issued in early 2012.

For more information about USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster assistance programs, please visit a nearby FSA service center or online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elap.