WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin sending livestock disaster assistance payments next week. USDA today released details on phase one of the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP), which is funded from the $750 million that Hoeven secured in September to aid livestock producers. Since then, Hoeven has repeatedly pressed USDA officials, including Secretary Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary Robert Bonnie and FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux, to provide the assistance as soon as possible and in a way that works for ranchers. The Emergency Livestock Relief Program:
- Will make payments based on producers’ 2021 Livestock Forage Program (LFP) application. Payments will be equal to 75% of a livestock producer’s gross 2021 LFP payment.
- No signup is required, and payments will start going out next week.
“We secured this $750 million to help ranchers recover from last year’s historic drought, and the payments come as a needed relief, especially as producers are facing increased costs across the board,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we’ve repeatedly urged USDA to move this program forward and called for payments to be based on LFP applications, which streamlines the process for ranchers. With these payments starting next week, we will continue pressing to get remaining disaster assistance out the door for all of our agriculture producers as soon as possible.”
To be eligible for ELRP, livestock producers must have suffered grazing losses in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 (severe drought) for eight consecutive weeks or a D3 (extreme drought) or higher level of drought intensity during the 2021 calendar year, and have applied and been approved for 2021 LFP. USDA expects to distribute more than $577 million through ELRP phase one. Phase two will begin later this year.
Hoeven worked to secure the $750 million for livestock producers as part of $10 billion in disaster aid, which also includes $9.25 billion in disaster funding to aid row crop producers who suffered losses due to droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other qualifying disasters in calendar years 2020 and 2021. USDA will provide that assistance using existing crop insurance data in a two-phase approach as well, beginning this spring.
Additionally, USDA is expanding the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP) to cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage. This follows the expansion of ELAP to compensate ranchers for increased costs of hauling feed to livestock, which the department implemented at the request of Hoeven.
Producers should contact their FSA county office or visit farmers.gov for more information.
In addition to the disaster funding, the senator has worked to provide producers with tools and support during the drought, including:
- The permanent expansion of the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP) to provide producers impacted by severe drought with 60% reimbursement of their feed transportation costs above what would have been incurred in a normal year.
- Emergency procedures and new flexibilities from the Risk Management Agency (RMA) for crop insurance providers to help ensure quick and fair adjustments and payments to producers.
- Hoeven pressed for this flexibility during his recent drought tour with RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy, and it comes as part of the senator’s efforts to help producers weather severe drought conditions in North Dakota.
- Providing flexibility to farmers when utilizing cover crops, which provide an additional source of feed for livestock producers.
- Following Acting Administrator Flournoy’s visit to North Dakota, RMA announced it will allow producers to hay, graze or chop cover crops on prevented plant acres at any time while still receiving their full crop insurance indemnity.