SOME DISASTER ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE THROUGH USDA
Many farmers across the Upper Midwest have been dealing with the impacts of the heavy rains and flooding that
have developed in late June. A widespread area of Southern Minnesota, Northern Iowa and Eastern South Dakota
received 12-16 inches of rain or more during the month of June, which followed more than double the normal
precipitation in May. This has resulted in flash flooding near rivers and streams and an immense amount of
standing water in many areas. The result has been considerable drown-out damage to crops, some loss of livestock,
and some physical damage to buildings and other property on farm sites. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)
has announced that there is some assistance available through USDA

Following is some of the assistance that is available through USDA:

  • Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) — The LIP program is available to livestock producers that incur
    damage to livestock due to the heavy rainfall, flooding, or other natural disasters. This program is intended
    to aid livestock producers that lost livestock or had livestock sales impacted by the natural disaster.
    Producers that have livestock-related losses need to submit evidence of the losses to their local FSA office.
    The deadline to apply for 2024 LIP payments is March 25, 2025. Livestock producers that experience
    losses related to tornado or strong wind damage should check with their local FSA office for further details
    on LIP eligibility.
  • Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) — The ELAP program for livestock, honeybees,
    and farm-raised fish to provide eligible producers and compensation for feed and grazing losses. To
    qualify for ELAP, producers are required to complete a notice of loss and a payment application at their
    local FSA office. The deadline for 2024 ELAP applications at FSA offices is January 30, 2025. There is
    a separate Tree Assistance Program (TAP) available through FSA offices for orchard owners that had lost
    or damaged fruit trees.
  • Emergency Relief Program (ERP) — USDA has initiated the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) on
    several occasions in recent years to provide additional assistance to crop producers with extensive crop
    losses due to natural disasters. One segment of the ERP program provides payments beyond federal crop
    insurance coverage to eligible producers, while the other segment of ERP is for crops not covered by
    federal crop insurance. No ERP program has been announced for the 2024 crop year at this point;
    however, the crop loss data that is gathered from the local FSA offices is important to determine the need
    for an ERP program. Payments through the ERP program are typically made after the crop year has been
    completed and all crop insurance claims have been filed.
  • FSA Low-Interest Loans — Producers that are in counties with a primary USDA disaster declaration,
    including contiguous counties, are eligible for emergency loans through local FSA offices to help them
    recover from physical and production losses due to natural disasters. These loans can be used be used to
    replace buildings and equipment, for feed and farm input purchases, and for other farm-related expenses.
    Many times the emergency loans are at lower interest rates than regular loans and can be amortized for
    more than one year. It is likely that many counties in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota will be included
    in disaster declarations in the coming weeks, which will make farmers and ranchers in those areas eligible
    for the FSA emergency loans. Farmers that had damage to grain storage and handling facilities could also
    utilize the low-interest Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program to finance repair or replacement costs
    for those facilities. For more details on the emergency loans and FSFL loans, as well as the loan
    requirements, producers should contact their local FSA office.
  • Report Losses to Local FSA Offices — The local FSA office is the point site to gather disaster-related
    information and loss data for USDA to determine the need for additional USDA disaster programs. It also
    important for farmers to report any lost crop acreage, loss of livestock, and physical damage to property
    from the heavy rainfall and severe storms to local FSA offices, so that they can do an accurate assessment
    of the damage and put together a request for disaster assistance.

All Farmers need to pay attention to FSA and Crop Insurance Deadlines
Once the crop is planted and we get into mid-Summer, it is easy to overlook some important deadlines at Farm
Service Agency (FSA) offices, crop insurance, and other important deadlines. Missing some of these deadlines
can be a costly mistake, as many of the program payments and benefits are linked to compliance with these
deadlines. Following is a couple of those important deadlines:

  • FSA Acreage Certification — The 2024 crop acreage reporting deadline for all Spring planted crops is
    Monday, July 15 at local FSA offices. Farmers are required to report their 2024 crop acres of corn,
    soybeans, spring wheat, and other Spring planted crops to FSA offices. This includes crop acreage of
    hemp and wild rice. The only exception is for crops that were planted after the deadline. In that case,
    farmers have an additional 15 days to report their crop acreage. Producers also need to report any 2024
    prevented planted crop acres to the FSA office by the July 15 deadline. Fall-seeded small grain crops must
    be reported by November 15, 2024. Farm operators can certify their crop acreage electronically to the
    FSA office by utilizing “farmers.gov portal”. This FSA portal also allows farmers to have the ability for
    online farm program enrollment and data submission. For more information on the setting up a FSA portal,
    farmers should contact their local FSA office or go the FSA website at: https://www.farmers.gov/
  • Crop Insurance Acreage Reporting Deadline — The 2024 crop acreage reporting deadline for corn,
    soybeans, and other Spring planted crops with local crop insurance agents is also Monday, July 15.
    Farmers are required to report their 2024 crop acres in order to maintain their 2024 crop insurance
    coverage. This is extremely important in 2024 due to the strong crop insurance guarantees for corn and
    soybeans, along with the potential for crop production issues in some areas due to late planting, flooding,
    and other weather-related issues. Similar to FSA, any 2024 prevented planted acres need to be reported
    for crop insurance purposes, as well as any crop acres that were replanted this year.

Farm and Rural Stress Assistance
The combination of the lowest grain prices in the past five years, together with the likely crop loss from the recent
flooding and natural disasters, is likely to result in reduced farm income levels for many farmers in 2024. This is
likely to increase the mental stress level for many farmers and farm families. There are some good resources
available to assist farm and rural families in the Upper Midwest States that have been impacted:

  • Minnesota — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has rural and mental health assistance
    resources available through the following:
    “Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline”— 833-600-2670
    Website — https://www.mda.state.mn.us/about/mnfarmerstress
  • Iowa — The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has rural and mental health
    assistance resources available through the following:
    “Iowa Concern Hotline”— 1-800-447-1885; Website — https://iowaagriculture.gov/
  • South Dakota — The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources has rural and
    mental health assistance resources available at: https://danr.sd.gov/
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    Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst, Green Solutions
    Phone — (507) 381-7960; E-mail — kentthiesse@gmail.com