The Agricultural Act of 2014, more commonly referred to as the 2014 Farm Bill, provides disaster assistance to livestock producers through the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP). The 2014 Farm Bill retroactively authorized the program to provide financial assistance to cover losses back to October 1, 2011. Under the LFP producers can receive financial compensation for grazing losses from drought or fire. 

Eligible producers may receive financial assistance when pasture or rangeland under their control has been classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor as being in a county under a qualifying drought related event for the designated period of time required under the guidelines of the program. As shown in Figure 1 (, Nebraska experienced extreme and exceptional drought in 2012 along with lingering effects that carried over into 2013 and early 2014 across different regions of the state.

Financial assistance provided to livestock producers under LFP in Nebraska has been substantial due to the retroactive authority of the programs. As of January 6, 2015 payments made for qualifying LFP losses from October 1, 2011 to December 31, 2014 have totaled over $532.5 million (Table 1 The largest payments made to Nebraska livestock producers occurred in 2012 with an accumulated total of almost $269.0 million for the year. Assistance provided during periods of the drought under the LFP make payments equal to 60 percent of the monthly feed cost for up to five months. 

Financial losses covered by LFP in Nebraska are also summarized in Table 1. These losses are estimated to be over $887.5 million for the resulting decline in forage and grassland production from 2012 to 2014 assuming the maximum payment rates of this disaster programs was paid out during that time period. The forage and grazing losses suffered in 2012 exceeded $448.3 million with the financial impact declining in the two subsequent years.