Livestock Disaster Assistance

The early October winter storm in the Black Hills and western South Dakota has caused severe livestock losses for western South Dakota producers. Media reports indicate that thousands of livestock perished during the storm. Below are answers to frequently asked questions related to livestock disaster assistance.

  • KBHB Radio Interview

    Senator John Thune (R-SD) joins KBHB radio on Oct. 8, 2013 to discuss the historic livestock losses.

Disaster Assistance FAQ

Is disaster assistance for dead livestock available through USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)?
All livestock disaster programs, including LIP, that were authorized and funded under the 2008 Farm Bill, expired September 30, 2011 and have not been reauthorized. Senator Thune is a strong supporter of LIP and other livestock disaster programs, and he ensured they were included in the Senate-passed 2013 Farm Bill. The House-passed 2013 Farm Bill also includes reauthorization of LIP and other livestock disaster programs. return to top
If the LIP program is reauthorized in the new Farm Bill, how much assistance may be provided?

The Senate-passed 2013 Farm Bill LIP would pay eligible producers at a rate of 65 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.

The House-passed 2013 Farm Bill LIP would pay eligible producers at a rate of 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.

The House and Senate LIP differ only in the amount of payment. This difference is expected to be worked out in Conference Committee, so the final payment rate is yet to be determined. Additionally, both versions of the 2013 Farm Bill would retain the LIP payment cap of $100,000 per producer per year.

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If the LIP program is reauthorized in the new Farm Bill, what actions should be taken today?

Ranchers should locate and very carefully certify all livestock death losses as soon as it is safely possible to do so prior to disposal. Based on previous LIP details*, certification of death losses can include:

  • Second party certification from neighbors, veterinarians, local government officials and other credible sources.
  • Receipts from rendering services.
  • Photographs or videos with date stamp of dead livestock.
  • Calving and lambing records, purchase records or any other records that could help verify the number of livestock owned on the day prior to the snowstorm.

*NOTE: Certification requirements for future LIP payments may be subject to change due to Congressional action on a final Farm Bill or regulatory and policy changes made by USDA.

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If the LIP is reauthorized in the new Farm Bill, when will financial assistance be available?
If the final 2013 Farm Bill reauthorizes the LIP program and other livestock disaster programs, USDA would have to draft regulations and develop software for new signup and payments. Therefore, it would likely be several months after a Farm Bill is passed before any payments could be made to producers who suffered livestock losses on account of the October 2013 snow storm. return to top
What other types of assistance might be available for those impacted by the October 2013 snow storm?

As with most natural disasters, local and state government officials may likely request a Presidential disaster declaration through FEMA, or a Secretarial disaster designation through USDA. Eligibility for a Presidential declaration is determined by FEMA after a request by the Governor to the President. A Secretarial disaster designation would require at least a 30 percent loss of production of a major commodity (including livestock) in a county. The only immediate and direct benefits from either a Presidential or Secretarial would be low interest loans through Farm Service Agency, and also Small Business Administration loans to agriculture-related businesses. For more information on non-USDA federal disaster programs please visit www.fema.gov.

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What is being done to assist producers with the disposal of dead livestock?

The South Dakota Animal Industry Board (AIB) will be coordinating disposal of livestock carcasses. Brand Board inspectors will be involved in identifying livestock and livestock carcasses. For carcass disposal information, contact the AIB at (605) 773-3321. A PDF of the disposal guidelines are available here.

If you have questions regarding livestock identification, please contact the South Dakota Brand Board at (605) 773-3324.

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