For those of you that have been impacted by past or current wildfires in relation to loss of rangeland forage, the YouTube video link and related website below would be good resources to review to help calculate forage loss. If you know of anyone with grazing lands impacted by the 2020 fires, please distribute. Also any of you that have current loss of structures, fences, stock and forages, it is always helpful to hear from you so we can summarize (without identifying individuals) to share with policy-makers. This information is often used to request federal disaster funds. Thanks in advance and stay safe!
Ukiah, CA, September 16, 2020 — Recent wildfires have impacted farmers and ranchers in Mendocino and Lake Counties. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), has disaster assistance programs available to help agricultural producers recover after natural disasters, including wildfires.
“FSA offers a variety of disaster assistance programs to support farmers and ranchers through times of adversity,” said Katie Delbar, County Executive Director for FSA in Mendocino and Lake County. “Many disaster programs have a 30-day window to report losses, so once producers are able to evaluate their losses, it is important to contact the local FSA office to report all damages and losses and learn more about how we can assist.”
FSA offers many programs to help producers recover from losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP), Emergency Forest Restoration Program and the Tree Assistance Program. Producers located in counties receiving a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses.
To participate in LIP, producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent. In addition, livestock producers should bring supporting evidence, including documentation of the number and kind of livestock that died, photographs or video records to document the loss, purchase records, veterinarian records, production records, and other similar documents. Owners who sold injured livestock for a reduced price because the livestock was injured due to an adverse weather event, must provide verifiable evidence of the reduced sale of the livestock.
To participate in ELAP, producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent. Producers should also maintain records and receipts documenting that livestock were removed from the grazing pasture due to adverse weather, costs of transporting livestock feed to eligible livestock, receipts for equipment rental fees for hay lifts, and feed purchase receipts.
The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters.
Compensation also is available to producers who purchased coverage through FSA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting. Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for 2020 crops and file a notice of loss and application for payment on qualifying crops.
Please contact the local FSA office at 707-468-9223 (ext. 2) for more information about our disaster assistance programs or visit farmers.gov/recover.
The following is a re-post from the trade journal Meating Place.
USDA announced the agency has decided to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule published on January 19, 2017. The withdrawal becomes effective May 13, 2018.
The rule would have increased federal regulation around animal housing, healthcare, transportation and slaughter practices of livestock and poultry for certified organic producers and handlers.
According to USDA, significant policy and legal issues were identified after the rule published in January 2017.
“After careful review and two rounds of public comment, USDA has determined that the rule exceeds the Department's statutory authority, and that the changes to the existing organic regulations could have a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program, including real costs for producers and consumers,” an agency news release stated.
“The existing robust organic livestock and poultry regulations are effective,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Program Undersecretary Greg Ibach. “The organic industry's continued growth domestically and globally shows that consumers trust the current approach that balances consumer expectations and the needs of organic producers and handlers.”
Among other things, the rules would have stopped organic poultry producers from using screened-in “porches” to house birds and required them instead to provide organic poultry with outdoor access.
Organic group pursues legal options
Last week, the Organic Trade Association requested that oral arguments be heard in the lawsuit it filed last September against USDA over its failure to put into effect the (now dismissed) new organic livestock standards. Before today's decision to withdraw the rule, USDA had delayed implementation multiple times since the January 2017 final rule.
Reacting to today's news, OTA Executive Director and CEO Laura Batcha said, "This most recent egregious attempt by the Department to ignore the will of the organic industry and consumers does not halt the Organic Trade Association's seeking judicial review, but in fact furthers our resolve.The Organic Trade Association will be immediately amend the complaint to yet again challenge USDA”s latest attempt to kill a rule that has been fully vetted over a decade."
Applegate, the nation's leading natural and organic prepared meat products company, had also supported the rules.
“Our company is harmed by competition from organic livestock products that are not meeting the highest organic welfare standards,” said Gina Asoudegan, Applegate's vice president of mission and innovation strategy. “The absence of a consistent national standard for organic livestock products and its associated additional costs harm consumers in the form of higher prices.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Humane Society of the United States and The Animal Welfare Institute had also supported the now dismissed rules.
The following is reprinted from ASI. For the first time some risk management tools are available to sheep producers. Now if predation losses were covered . . .
U.S. Sheep Industry Offers Own Insurance to Producers
Whether it's thru futures or crop insurance, risk management is a very important tool that helps farmers and ranchers guard against natural disasters, low prices and predators, which have the potential to wreck financial havoc on an operation. And for the longest time, the U.S. sheep industry was excluded from risk management tools like these; that is until now.
The Northern Ag Network's Russell Nemetz shares more of the details during the following interview available on ASI's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/sheepusa1.