WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich encouraged livestock producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to apply for disaster assistance prior to Oct. 1, 2014, to ensure they receive the most possible financial assistance. Udall and Heinrich fought for retroactive disaster assistance funding for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide payments to New Mexico livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire after the previous emergency disaster assistance program expired in October 2011.
“The severe and ongoing drought in New Mexico has posed great challenges to farmers and ranchers, who have suffered pasture, forage and livestock losses,” Udall said. "The expiration of disaster assistance in 2011 amplified the effects of these losses, but I was pleased to help reauthorize these programs in the Farm Bill to provide retroactive assistance and extend assistance for another 10 years to give farmers and ranchers some much-needed financial relief and more security about future operations. I urge eligible farmers and ranchers to start their applications as soon they can to ensure they get as much financial assistance as possible to help them recover from the devastating effects of prolonged drought.”
"New Mexico’s $1.7 billion cattle industry is important to our state’s economy. The disaster assistance programs included in the new Farm Bill will help provide the necessary resources to assist our ranchers in recovering from three years of drought,” Heinrich said. "I’m pleased with the quick implementation of these programs, and I encourage eligible ranchers in New Mexico to apply so they can rebuild their herds and continue our rich agricultural traditions.”
Due to a provision in the 2011 Budget Control Act, eligible producers seeking LFP assistance must begin the application process prior to Oct. 1, 2014, to avoid a reduction in the amount of assistance they are eligible to receive. Producers can register for the LFP list online at www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster-register, or contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) to request an appointment and begin an application. Eligible livestock includes alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep or swine that have been or would have been grazing on eligible grazing land, and producers forced to liquidate their livestock may also be eligible to receive benefits through the program.
The Livestock Indemnity Program, the Tree Assistance Program and the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program Frost Freeze payments will also decrease by 7.3 percent for Fiscal Year 2015. Unlike LFP, applications for these programs must be fully completed by Oct. 1, 2014, so Udall and Heinrich encourage producers to begin the application process as soon as possible.
More information about disaster assistance programs authorized in the Farm Bill is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/farmbill. Further information about the LFP is available at http://go.usa.gov/5JTk and the contact information for the New Mexico FSA office can be found here.