News from USDA. Also check out the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) at: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/livestock_forage_program_lfp-fact_sheet.pdf
WASHINGTON, September 8, 2021— In response to the severe drought conditions in the West and Great Plains, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today its plans to help cover the cost of transporting feed for livestock that rely on grazing. USDA is updating the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to immediately cover feed transportation costs for drought impacted ranchers. USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide more details and tools to help ranchers get ready to apply at their local USDA Service Center later this month at fsa.usda.gov/elap.
“USDA is currently determining how our disaster assistance programs can best help alleviate the significant economic, physical and emotional strain agriculture producers are experiencing due to drought conditions,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The duration and intensity of current drought conditions are merciless, and the impacts of this summer's drought will be felt by producers for months to come. Today's announcement is to provide relief as ranchers make fall and winter herd management decisions.”
ELAP provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
ELAP already covers the cost of hauling water during drought, and this change will expand the program beginning in 2021 to cover feed transportation costs where grazing and hay resources have been depleted. This includes places where:
- Drought intensity is D2 for eight consecutive weeks as indicated by the U.S. Drought Monitor;
- Drought intensity is D3 or greater; or
- USDA has determined a shortage of local or regional feed availability.
Cost share assistance will also be made available to cover eligible cost of treating hay or feed to prevent the spread of invasive pests like fire ants.
Under the revised policy for feed transportation cost assistance, eligible ranchers will be reimbursed 60% of feed transportation costs above what would have been incurred in a normal year. Producers qualifying as underserved (socially disadvantaged, limited resource, beginning or military veteran) will be reimbursed for 90% of the feed transportation cost above what would have been incurred in a normal year.
A national cost formula, as established by USDA, will be used to determine reimbursement costs which will not include the first 25 miles and distances exceeding 1,000 transportation miles. The calculation will also exclude the normal cost to transport hay or feed if the producer normally purchases some feed. For 2021, the initial cost formula of $6.60 per mile will be used (before the percentage is applied), but may be adjusted on a state or regional basis.
To be eligible for ELAP assistance, livestock must be intended for grazing and producers must have incurred feed transportation costs on or after Jan. 1, 2021. Although producers will self-certify losses and expenses to FSA, producers are encouraged to maintain good records and retain receipts and related documentation in the event these documents are requested for review by the local FSA County Committee. The deadline to file an application for payment for the 2021 program year is Jan. 31, 2022.
Additional USDA Drought Assistance
USDA has authorized other flexibilities to help producers impacted by drought. USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) extended deadlines for premium and administrative fee payments and deferred and waived the resulting interest accrual to help farmers and ranchers through widespread drought conditions in many parts of the nation. Additionally, RMA authorized emergency procedures to help streamline and accelerate the adjustment of losses and issuance of indemnity payments to crop insurance policyholders in impacted areas and updated policy to allow producers with crop insurance to hay, graze or chop cover crops at any time and still receive 100% of the prevented planting payment. This policy change supports use of cover crops, which improves soil health can help producers build resilience to drought.
Meanwhile, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to improve irrigation efficiency and water storage in soil, helping producers build resilience to drought. In response to drought this year, NRCS targeted $41.8 million in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon through Conservation Incentive Contracts, a new option available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, focused on drought practices.
USDA offers a comprehensive portfolio of disaster assistance programs. On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine all program or loan options available for disaster recovery assistance.
Join us for our next webinar on Wednesday, June 17th at 1pm PDT, which will feature Dr. Tina Saitone, CE Specialist in Agricultural and Resource Economics, presenting "Can you Insure Against Drought? Information and Outcomes from the Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Insurance Program".
Register at https://tinyurl.com/WRWs4
(we will email registrants a Zoom meeting link morning of the webinar)
Working Rangelands Wednesdays is a bi-weekly webinar series where we explore topics around rangeland agriculture in California and across the West.
You can view previous Working Rangelands Wednesdays sessions on the UC Rangelands YouTube channel.
For questions, please contact Grace Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Announcement reprinted from California Wool Growers' Association newsletter. I was part of the team and it reflects input from Mendocino and Lake County ranchers as well as the rest of the state.
California has experienced five large-scale, multiyear droughts since 1960; however, the current event is considered the state's most severe drought in at least 500 years. Each year of the current drought has presented different challenges; for example, much of California received no measurable precipitation December 2013 through late January 2014. In the following year, the Sierra Nevada snowpack was just 5% of normal. As California ranching is largely dependent on rain-fed systems, as opposed to groundwater or stored water, it is very vulnerable to drought. In fact, rangeland livestock ranchers were among the first affected by the abnormally warm, dry winters at the beginning of the current multiyear drought.
In this article, we highlight lessons learned so far from past droughts, as well as California's unprecedented and ongoing multiyear drought. We draw on ranchers' perspectives and experiences, including research results from a statewide mail survey of 507 ranchers and semistructured interviews of 102 ranchers, as well as our own experiences. The mail survey (the California Rangeland Decision-Making Survey) included questions on operator and operation demographics, goals and practices, information resources, and rancher perspectives. Semistructured interviews are part of a larger ongoing project (the California Ranch Stewardship Project) examining rangeland management for multiple ecosystem services.
The publication is available at the following link - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019005281630027X
November 7, 2014
• What the U.S. Drought Monitor means to you
• How CA Ranchers are coping with the drought
• New feeding strategies for livestock in drought
• NOAA's forecast for the coming season
The map tells the tale of California's relentless drought, its location and severity. This workshop will tell you the story of the Drought Monitor, in particular how the map may help you qualify for drought relief assistance – and how local California experience and information can be used to inform the drought mapping process. Results will also be shared from current studies of how ranchers are impacted by and managing for drought on their ranches, as well as on the newest livestock drought feeding strategies. The California state climatologist will present the forecast for the coming season. The workshop will be on the UC Davis campus and webcast to the majority of participants at local satellite locations across California. The workshop recordings will be posted on-line.
Questions and comments from local satellite webcast locations will be included throughout the workshop.
|Registration Opens and Morning Refreshments Served
|Welcome, Ken Tate, UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension
|U.S. Drought Monitor: Setting the Context and Introduction of Speakers, Mark Svoboda, National Drought Mitigation Center
|• A Behind the Scenes Look at the Drought Monitor: History, Tools, and Methods, Eric Luebehusen, USDA
|• How to get information into the US Drought Monitor Process, Brian Fuchs, National Drought Mitigation Center
|• The California Drought of 2011-14: Brief History and Current Impacts, Brad Rippey, USDA
|Questions and Discussion about the Drought Monitor and California, Chad McNutt, NOAA
Discuss the Drought Monitor and how California's ranching and range community can inform the process.
|Lunch Provided by the UCD Rustici Rangeland Endowments
|California Ranchers' Experiences with Drought, Leslie Roche, UC Davis
Insights to on-ranch drought impacts, outlooks, and management based on surveys and interviews of over 500 ranchers living through this drought.
|New Livestock Drought Feeding Strategies, Glenn Nader, UC Cooperative Extension
Tips for improving the nutritional quality of low quality feed products, and supplementing livestock diets on rangelands.
|Seasonal Climate Forecast and Opportunity for Q&A's for the Coming Season, Michael Anderson, California State Climatologist, California Department of Water Resources
|Closing Remarks, Tim Koopmann, President, California Cattlemen's Association
Contact for Information and Registration – Tracy Schohr at email@example.com or (916)716-2643(916)716-2643
Workshop and Webcast Locations – UC Davis campus and webcast to Auburn, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield, Tulare, Merced, Ukiah, Redding, Susanville, Yreka – more locations and details coming soon.
U.S. Drought Monitor – http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/
U.S. Drought Monitor California– http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CA
UC Rangeland Watershed Laboratory Drought Page – http://rangelandwatersheds.ucdavis.edu/main/drought.html