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Details announced for USDA plan to help cover feed-related transportation costs

Published on 16 September 2021

The USDA has released details of a plan to help cover the cost of transporting feed for livestock that rely on grazing and are located in regions affected by the drought.

The payments will be made through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP), administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

ELAP already covers the cost of hauling water during drought, and this change will expand the program beginning in 2021 to cover feed transportation costs where grazing and hay resources have been depleted. To be eligible for assistance, livestock producers must be located in:

  • Areas where drought intensity is D2 for eight consecutive weeks as indicated by the U.S. Drought Monitor;

  • Areas where the drought intensity is D3 or greater; or

  • Areas where the USDA has determined a shortage of local or regional feed availability

The original plan announcement covered states in the West and Great Plains but has recently been expanded to include Wisconsin.

Cost share assistance will also be made available to cover eligible cost of treating hay or feed to prevent the spread of invasive pests like fire ants.

Under the revised policy for feed transportation cost assistance, eligible ranchers will be reimbursed 60% of feed transportation costs above what would have been incurred in a normal year. Producers qualifying as underserved (socially disadvantaged, limited resource, beginning or military veteran) will be reimbursed for 90% of the feed transportation cost above what would have been incurred in a normal year.

A national cost formula, as established by the USDA, will be used to determine reimbursement costs, which will not include the first 25 miles and distances exceeding 1,000 transportation miles. The calculation will also exclude the normal cost to transport hay or feed if the producer normally purchases some feed. For 2021, the initial cost formula of $6.60 per mile will be used (before the percentage is applied) but may be adjusted on a state or regional basis.

To be eligible for ELAP assistance, livestock must be intended for grazing, and producers must have incurred feed transportation costs on or after Jan. 1, 2021. Although producers will self-certify losses and expenses to the FSA, producers are encouraged to maintain good records and retain receipts and related documentation in the event these documents are requested for review by the local FSA county committee. The deadline to file an application for payment for the 2021 program year is Jan. 31, 2022.

The FSA will provide more application details and tools here.  end mark

—From a USDA news release

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