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Congressman Ralph Abraham

Representing the 5th District of Louisiana

Flood Recovery Information for Farmers

USDA/FSA Disaster Assistance Summary

As a member of the House Agriculture Committee and a farmer himself, Dr. Abraham understands that farmers throughout the state of Louisiana and particularly the 5th Congressional District have suffered severe losses as a result of the March floods. This document contains agriculture-specific information to assist farmers in the recovery process.

There are basically two generally available avenues for farmers suffering losses from the flooding we’ve experienced - the first is Crop Insurance for those producers who have purchased a policy; the second is Low Interest Loans from FSA/USDA.  There are additional programs listed below, though they tend to be very limited in eligibility.

Individuals seeking information about FEMA assistance should visit the page found here.


FARMERS AND PRODUCERS WHO HAVE SUFFERED LOSSES SHOULD FIRST CONTACT THEIR BROKER/INSURANCE AGENT AS WELL AS THEIR LOCAL FSA OFFICE.  INSURANCE POLICIES MAY VARY – PRODUCERS SHOULD ALWAYS CONTACT THEIR AGENT TO VERIFY OPPORTUNITIES OR BENFITS AVAILABLE ALONG WITH APPLICABLE TIMEFRAMES OR DATES.

1. Crop Insurance

a. Contact your Broker/Insurance Agent

b.  File Notice of Loss (Timeframes apply)

c. Be aware that:

i. Farmer can usually submit a loss claim at any point, however, loss claims usually cannot be finalized until after the final planting date.

ii. For reference, common final planting dates in the District are:

IMPORTANT: Producer should verify dates with Insurance Agent

  • Corn – April 20th
  • Grain Sorghum– May 15th
  • Rice – May 15th (Rapides, Avoyelles, St. Landry)
  • Rice – May 25th (Morehouse, West Carroll, East Carroll, Madison, Richland, Franklin, Tensas, Concordia, Catahoula)
  • Cotton – May 25th
  • Soybeans – June 15th (Double Crop Soybeans - June 25th)

iii. Replant Claims - Under certain circumstances, farmers can submit a “Replant Claim” - compensation for extra costs associated with replanting the same crop within the normal planting period.
Check with Agent for details.

d. Farmer usually has a responsibility to take “prudent action” to replant the intended crop  prior to final planting date, if that is possible

e.Late Planting periods apply.  If for example, a corn farmer cannot plant or replant by the final planting date, April 20th, they may have to wait until May 5th to plant soybeans on the same acreage.  Planting earlier, between April 21st and May 5th, may negatively impact the claim for Corn loss.
Contact Broker/Insurance Agent for details.
 

2. FSA/USDA Emergency Loan Program (ELP) Low Interest Loans

a. Contact Local FSA Office.  You can click HERE for an online tool.

b. These can be offered by way of:

i. Presidential Disaster Declaration that specifically provides them:
http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4263

ii. By way of Secretarial Designation

iii. FSA Administrator’s Physical Loss Notification

iv. Quarantine

c. For LA-05

i. The current Presidential Disaster Declaration does provide for USDA Disaster Assistance for select Parishes, and all contiguous parishes to those select Parishes.  Low interest loans up to $500k granted through the Presidential Disaster Declaration are available to those qualified in those and contiguous parishes.

  1. Must qualify by a 30% minimum loss in any single enterprise (aka if you grow wheat and soybean, you need only a 30% loss in either.)
  2. Loan is limited to loss.

ii. In parishes not covered, still a possibility that there could be a Secretarial Declaration for Parishes outside the Presidential Declaration.
 

3. FSA Borrowers – Select Set-Asides

a. Contact Local FSA Office

b. FSA borrowers in designated disaster areas or contiguous parishes who are unable to make scheduled payments on that debt may be authorized to have certain payments set aside.  FSA is authorized to consider appeals for set-asides in order to ensure that operations can continue.
 

4. FSA/USDA Non-Loan Specialty Disaster Assistance Programs

a. Livestock Indemnity Program
Contact Local FSA Office
LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather.

i. Report loss within 30 days & keep detailed records

ii. LIP payments are equal to 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.

iii. Need detailed records or evidence – use cell phones to take photos of dead livestock, any other type record or evidence.

b. Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm Raised Fish (ELAP)
Contact Local FSA Office
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized up to $20 million of Commodity Credit Corporation funds in a fiscal year for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program to provide emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish.  ELAP covers losses due to an eligible adverse weather or eligible loss condition as determined by the Secretary.  ELAP covers losses that are not covered under other disaster assistance programs such as the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).  NOTE: Recipients of ELAP payments may receive a reduced payment should the total annual national demand for ELAP exceed $20 million in a fiscal year.
Keep any records supporting claim!

i. ELAP-Livestock

  1. FSA determines the eligible loss conditions for livestock death losses and that these loss conditions cannot be covered under LIP.
  2. Loss of Eligible Feed:
    1. Loss of purchased forage or feedstuffs.
    2. Of mechanically harvested forage or feedstuffs.
    3. Resulting from the additional costs incurred for transporting feed to eligible livestock.
    4. Resulting from the additional costs of purchasing additional feed, above normal quantities, required to maintain eligible livestock during an eligible adverse weather or loss condition.

ii. ELAP-Honey Bees
Eligible honeybees include bees housed in a managed hive and used for honey production, pollination or honeybee breeding. ELAP covers only losses associated with the bees, hives or colonies.  Losses of honey are covered under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

iii. ELAP-Farm Raised Fish
Of any aquatic species that is propagated and reared in a controlled environment which is being maintained for commercial use as part of the producer’s farming operation.

c. Emergency Conservation Program
Contact Local FSA Office
If damages warrant and funding is available, this program provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters.

i. FSA County Committee can request for an individual, for a geographic area, or for an entire Parish.

ii. Cannot assess damage until event has concluded.

iii. Producer can file application FSA and begin work before FSA concludes its work.

d. The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program
Contact Local FSA Office
Provides financial assistance to producers who obtained a NAP policy from FSA prior to the application closing-date for the specific crop.  NAP covers crops for which traditional crop insurance is unavailable, and protects against natural disasters that result in lower yields or crop losses, or prevents crop planting.  Eligible crops must be commercially produced agricultural commodities for which traditional crop insurance is not available.

i. NAP Coverage is only available to producers who grow non-insurable crops like vegetables and pecans

ii. It is offered through FSA – it must be bought through FSA.  Check with FSA, may still buy this coverage, but not likely.

e.Tree Assistance Program
Contact Local FSA Office
Eligible trees, bushes, and vines are those from which an annual crop is produced for commercial purposes. Nursery trees include ornamental, fruit, nut and Christmas trees produced for commercial sale. Trees used for pulp or timber are ineligible for TAP assistance.
 

5. Additional Resources

a. Find your local FSA office tool (LINK)

b. FEMA DR-4263 Disaster Site (LINK)
The site specific for this disaster

c. Additional Information for FSA Disaster Programs (LINK)