Producers should document livestock losses after harsh weather

 Resize text         Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Producers should keep records of weather-related livestock deaths, North Dakota State University Extension Service specialists say.

Those producers have experienced a variety of adverse weather conditions.

"Late-spring snow, cold rain and sleet storms have moved across parts of the northern Plains, and have coincided with peak calving and lambing seasons," says Karl Hoppe, North Dakota State University Extension Service area livestock specialist at the Carrington Extension Research Center. "Now flooding is occurring along many streams and river systems. Last summer and fall, severe drought conditions also affected ranches and farms in some regions of the northern Plains."

"Currently, there are no federal disaster assistance programs available for adverse weather disasters," says Dwight Aakre, NDSU Extension farm management specialist. "The 2008 farm bill (Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008) authorized several livestock loss programs that expired on Oct. 1, 2011. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provided benefits for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather. The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) covered grazing losses and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) covered death losses not eligible under LIP, grazing not covered under LFP and farm-raised fish and honeybee death and feed losses."

However, legislation has been introduced in Congress that would extend LIP, LFP and ELAP for five years and would retroactively cover losses in fiscal years 2012 and 2013. It is not known if this legislation will pass, be amended or even replaced when a new farm bill that could include disaster assistance is passed.

"Since adverse weather conditions are causing livestock losses, it is important for livestock producers to document all weather-related deaths in case retroactive programs become available," says Tim Petry, NDSU Extension livestock economist. "The previous LIP program covered losses in excess of normal mortality, so it is important for livestock producers to document normal losses, even if a weather disaster has not yet occurred in a particular area."

Providing adequate proof that livestock losses occurred due to an adverse weather event is sometimes a challenge for producers, according to the Extension specialists. Saving local news articles that document the date and severity of the adverse weather, along with good production records and photographs, is a starting point.

A fact sheet for the previous LIP program that describes various methods for providing adequate proof is available at

Comments (3) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Wyo  |  April, 24, 2013 at 08:54 PM

Yep.......document your loses and put your hand out.........and then cuss food stamp folks.

here  |  April, 25, 2013 at 10:25 PM

The only loss in the livestock business does not only come in the way of the death of a animal. How about pen damage and added expense in equipment and operating during extreme conditions?? Why no one ever talks about that is amazing!! Also Graybull, what the livestock business gets in hand outs compared to the grain farmer is not even comparable.

SD  |  April, 27, 2013 at 09:09 AM

With Food Stamp and other social food programs taking about 98% of the TOTAL USDA budget, even the grain subsidy spending is a pittance! It does seem death loss due to unusual weather would be a reasonable thing to cover, especially if in the form of insurance. There certainly are times when one has to make a choice between endangering the very life of a rancher in attempts to save the life of livestock. Tragically, too often wrong choices are made and human lives lost. There also is terrific imbalance between spending for crops and animals in Farm Programs, not there should be more spent for animals, but less on grains, IMO. AND certainly less money spent, or better discernment of true need for the 'people assistance' programs.

RANGER® Diesel, Sportsman® ATV Series

The Polaris Ranger Diesel sets new standards in terms of efficiency. With its efficient diesel engine, the vehicle is up ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Leads to Insight