This winter’s extreme conditions across much of the nation have resulted in some instances of excessive livestock losses. Ranchers who have experienced such losses may be eligible to recover some of those losses through the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).
The LIP provides benefits to eligible livestock owners or contract growers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality resulting from conditions such as adverse weather, diseases and predator attacks.
Occurrences of eligible losses, however, do not automatically trigger benefit payments. Livestock owners must provide evidence of such losses to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, which administers the LIP.
"Transient weather changes usually are endured by well-fed livestock," Karl Hoppe, North Dakota Extension livestock systems specialist said in a news release. “Cattle seem to handle two or three days of subzero weather without issues. However, extended cold weather can challenge livestock."
LIP payments for owners are based on national payment rates that are 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock as determined by the Agriculture Secretary. Rates for contract growers of poultry or swine will not exceed the rates for owners but are based on 75 percent of national average input costs for the applicable livestock.
To qualify for LIP benefits, livestock must have either died in excess of normal mortality as a direct result of an eligible loss condition, or been injured as a direct result of an eligible loss condition and were sold at a reduced price.
"Death losses may occur despite extra efforts to feed, bed and create more shelter," Bryon Parman, North Dakota Extension agricultural finance specialist said. "If death losses do occur, be sure to record the date, take a picture as proof and report the loss to the USDA Farm Service Agency for the Livestock Indemnity Program."
Parman said death losses above the expected yearly average can put significant financial strain on livestock producers. “While the loss of a calf might cost a producer around $825 in lost revenue, the loss of an adult pregnant cow could exceed $2,000 each.
"Producers who do not take advantage of the program are then put at a disadvantage against those who do. Furthermore, weather affects each operation differently, and the LIP helps ensure producers remain competitive and able to continue operating though tough conditions."