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Wildfire-related livestock losses may qualify for financial assistance program

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Livestock producers who lost animals to recent wildfires may qualify for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Livestock Indemnity Program.

“LIP provides assistance to producers who have experienced abnormal livestock mortality due to a number of eligible loss conditions, among them adverse weather, some disease outbreaks and attacks by animals reintroduced by the government,” said Trent Milacek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension area agricultural economist.

The recent wildfires in northwestern Oklahoma will qualify as an adverse weather-related loss. LIP payments are made by calculating 75 percent of the fair market value for the affected livestock, as determined by the Commodity Credit Corporation, the government entity created to stabilize, support and protect farm income and prices. Notices of loss should be directed to the producer’s local FSA county office.

In order for a producer to be eligible for LIP, he or she must have legally owned the livestock on the day they died and the loss must have occurred no later than 60 calendar days from the ending date of the disaster.

“Livestock must have been utilized for commercial use as part of a farming or ranching operation on the day they died,” Milacek said. “Excluded animals include free-roaming animals, pets or animals used for recreation such as hunting, roping or for show.”

Contract growers can be eligible for LIP if, on the day the livestock died, they had possession and control of the eligible livestock. Also, they must have had a written contract with the livestock owner detailing the terms and obligations of the respective parties regarding the production of the livestock.

Payments for LIP are calculated based on the national payment rate. This rate is multiplied by the number of eligible livestock.

“The LIP national payment rate is calculated using 75 percent of the average fair market value of the livestock,” Milacek said. “The LIP national payment rate for contract growers is figured using 75 percent of the average income loss sustained by the grower with respect to the lost livestock.”

Danny Lee, FSA agricultural program specialist, reminds producers it is important to gather needed information to apply for LIP. Producers who have experienced a loss need to submit a notice of loss and an application for payment to their local FSA office.

“The notice of loss must be made within 30 calendar days following the producer’s discovery of the loss of the livestock,” he said. “Then an application for payment must be filed with FSA. Producers have to submit this application no later than 90 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the loss occurred.”

Lee stresses that documentation of the livestock loss is very important in the application process. The number and kind of livestock that have died are required, supplemented if possible with the following: photographs or video documenting the loss with dates attached, purchase records, veterinary records, production records, bank and loan documents, written contracts, tax records, private insurance documents or other reliable documents.

“Be aware FSA may require additional documentation as well,” Lee said. “As a practical matter, photographs with dates are a good way to quickly inventory losses while providing proof of the loss. We encourage producers to contact their local FSA office for direction on documenting proof of the eligible livestock loss.”

Additional information about the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program or other FSA disaster programs is available through all FSA offices and online at

“The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service works closely with FSA on a number of matters, so producers can get relevant LIP information through their OSU Cooperative Extension county office as well,” Milacek said.

One of two state agencies administered by OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service's county offices typically are listed under “County Government” in local directories.

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