Lincoln, Nebraska, Feb. 26, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides technical and financial assistance to help Nebraska farmers and livestock producers recover from damages brought on by winter storms Uri and Viola. Agricultural producers are encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center to learn about the programs available to help them recover from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses.
“The recent extreme cold and winter weather has been a challenge for farmers and ranchers in Nebraska,” said Timothy Divis, acting state executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Nebraska. “We know some producers have experienced losses or other impacts. USDA offers disaster assistance programs that may be able to help.”
USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to contact the FSA county office at the local USDA Service Center to apply for eligible programs and to learn which documents, such as farm records, herd inventory, receipts and pictures of damages or losses should be provided to help expedite assistance.
Producers who experience livestock deaths due to the winter storms may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program. Meanwhile, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides eligible producers with compensation for feed and grazing losses. For LIP and ELAP, producers will need to file a notice of loss for livestock and extra feed costs or feed losses within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days.
Additionally, eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers may be eligible for cost-share assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes or vines lost during the winter storms. This complements Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) or crop insurance coverage, which covers the crop but not the plants or trees in all cases. For TAP, a program application must be filed within 90 days.
FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed loans, including operating and emergency loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing. Producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs.
Producers who have risk protection through Federal Crop Insurance or FSA’s NAP should report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or FSA office. If they have crop insurance, producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days. For NAP covered crops, a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent, except for perishable crops, which should be reported within 72 hours.
“Crop insurance and other USDA risk management options are there to help producers manage risk because we never know what nature has in store for the future,” said Collin Olsen, director of RMA’s Regional Office that covers Nebraska. “The Approved Insurance Providers, loss adjusters and agents are experienced and well trained in handling these types of events.”
The Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program can assist landowners and forest stewards with financial and technical assistance to restore damaged farmland or forests.
On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA Service Center.