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USDA Farm Service Agency OffersDisaster Assistance to Farmers, Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought

The Jefferson County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office is highlighting available assistance programs to help farmers and livestock producers address the ongoing drought. Producers being impacted should contact the county FSA office to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist them.
“A number of programs have triggered due to the ongoing drought conditions in the area,” said Jefferson County FSA Executive Director Joni Johnson. “Producers whose operations are being impacted by the drought are encouraged to contact the county FSA office for assistance.”
A few key FSA drought assistance programs that have triggered include:
Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP): LFP provides compensation to eligible producers who are suffering grazing losses for eligible livestock due to drought on privately-owned land, leased land where the producer has a risk in the grazing or fire on federally managed land. Producers are eligible to apply for 2023 LFP benefits on small grains, native pasture and improved pasture. 
The county became eligible for LFP due to drought status as shown on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Several factors are considered regarding producer eligibility for LFP, including that a producer must have risk in both the eligible livestock and the eligible grazing lands.
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP): ELAP is available to eligible producers who have suffered above normal expenses for hauling feed or water to livestock or hauling livestock to forage/grazing acres due to the impacts of drought.
The county became eligible for ELAP due to drought status as shown on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Producers must have risk in both eligible livestock and eligible grazing land in an eligible county to qualify for ELAP assistance. Producers interested in accessing this program should contact the county FSA office as soon as the loss of water resources or feed resources are known.
For ELAP eligibility, documentation of expenses is critical. Producers should maintain records and receipts associated with the costs of transporting water to eligible livestock, the costs of transporting feed to eligible livestock, and the costs of transporting eligible livestock to forage/grazing acres.
ELAP also has available assistance provisions for honeybee producers impacted by drought, and those producers should contact the county FSA office for more information.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Emergency Haying and Grazing: Acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program may be authorized for emergency haying and grazing to provide additional hay resources for livestock producers affected by drought. Counties trigger for this emergency program by reaching D2 (drought severe) on the U.S. Drought Monitor or in a county where there is at least a 40 percent loss in forage production. Producers interested in haying or grazing of CRP acres must contact the county FSA office to determine eligibility prior to beginning any haying or grazing activity and to gain an understanding of specific program provisions.
Emergency Loan Program: This program provides emergency loans to qualified producers to help with production and physical losses related to drought. These loans can be used to assist with production costs for the disaster year, essential family living expenses, reorganizing the farm operation or refinancing certain debts. Among other eligibility requirements, farmers and ranchers who apply for these loans must be unable to receive credit from commercial sources.
This program has triggered due to the county bordering a primary disaster designated county. The disaster designations are based on conditions shown on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Producers have until December 28, 2023, to apply for these loans.
Other disaster assistance programs may be available, including the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and the Tree Assistance Program, among others. For more information on drought resources through FSA, contact the Jefferson County FSA office at (402) 729-6134. Additional FSA resource links can be found on the Nebraska FSA website at fsa.usda.gov/ne.


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