USDA Disaster Assistance to Help Thousands of Honeybee, Livestock and Farm-Raised Fish Producers

The USDA announced that nearly 2,500 applicants will receive disaster assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for losses suffered from October 1, 2011, through September  30, 2013.

The program, re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides disaster relief to livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Eligible losses may include excessive heat or winds, flooding, blizzards, hail, wildfires, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions, and diseases, or in the case of honeybees, losses due to colony collapse disorder. Beekeepers, most of whom suffered honeybee colony losses, represent more than half of ELAP recipients.

“As promised, we’re making sure that thousands of producers who suffered through two and a half difficult years without Farm Bill assistance, are getting some relief,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Once the Farm Bill was restored, not only did we implement the disaster assistance programs in record time, we’re issuing payments less than three months after the enrollment deadline. The funds will hopefully help producers with some of the financial losses they sustained during that time.”

The Farm Bill caps ELAP disaster funding at $20 million per federal fiscal year. To accommodate the number of requests, which exceeded funds available for each of the affected years, payments will be reduced to ensure that all eligible applicants receive a prorated share of assistance.

ELAP was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit  www.usda.gov/farmbill.

To learn more about USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster assistance programs, visit the FSA factsheet page at  www.fsa.usda.gov/factsheets or contact your local FSA office at http://go.usa.gov/pYV3.

USDA Reminds Producers of 2014 Acreage Reporting Requirement

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini reminds agricultural producers that July 15, 2014, is the deadline to file an acreage report for spring seeded crops. Planted acres must be reported to FSA by July 15, 2014. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) requires producers on a farm to submit annual acreage reports on all cropland.

“Although some federal farm program enrollments have not yet started, timely acreage reports for all crops and land uses, including prevented and failed acreage that producers submit to their local FSA office, are important to ensure program eligibility,” said Dolcini.

Acreage reports to FSA are considered timely filed when completed by the applicable final crop reporting deadline, which may vary from state to state. Perennial forage crops intended for grazing or haying were required to be reported last fall, whereas perennial forage crops with an intended use of cover only, green manure, left standing, or seed, must be reported by July 15.

Although July 15 is the most common deadline to report acreage for spring seeded crops, this date may be different in locations with climates that are warmer or cooler than average. Producers should contact their county FSA office if they are uncertain about acreage reporting deadlines.

Dolcini said that failed acreage must be reported before the disposition of the crop and that prevented acreage must be reported within 15 calendar days after the final planting date for the applicable crop.

For questions on this or any FSA program, including specific crop reporting deadlines and planting dates, producers should contact their county FSA office or seek information online at www.fsa.usda.gov.