Financial assistance available for farmers who lost livestock due to Oklahoma wildfires

WOODWARD, Okla. –  As wildfires continue to damage hundreds of thousands of acres across western Oklahoma, many farmers are struggling to protect their livestock.

Officials say there is financial help available for those who have lost livestock due to the recent wildfires.

“[The USDA Farm Service Agency’s Livestock Indemnity Program] provides assistance to producers who have experienced abnormal livestock mortality due to a number of eligible loss conditions, among them adverse weather, some disease outbreaks and attacks by animals reintroduced by the government,” said Trent Milacek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension area agricultural economist.

The payments are made by calculating 75 percent of the fair market value for the affected livestock, as determined by the Commodity Credit Corporation.

In order to be eligible for the LIP, the livestock producer must have legally owned the livestock on the day they died and the loss must have occurred no later than 60 calendar days from the ending date of the disaster.

“Livestock must have been utilized for commercial use as part of a farming or ranching operation on the day they died,” Milacek said. “Excluded animals include free-roaming animals, pets or animals used for recreation such as hunting, roping or for show.”

Contract growers can be eligible for LIP if, on the day the livestock died, they had possession and control of the eligible livestock. Also, they must have had a written contract with the livestock owner detailing the terms and obligations of the respective parties regarding the production of the livestock.

Producers who have experienced a loss need to submit a notice of loss and an application for payment to their local FSA office.

“The notice of loss must be made within 30 calendar days following the producer’s discovery of the loss of the livestock,” he said. “Then an application for payment must be filed with FSA. Producers have to submit this application no later than 90 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the loss occurred.”

Also, make sure you document the number and kind of livestock that have died and provide if possible the following: photographs or video documenting the loss with dates attached, purchase records, veterinary records, production records, bank and loan documents, written contracts, tax records, private insurance documents or other reliable documents.

“Be aware FSA may require additional documentation as well,” Lee said. “As a practical matter, photographs with dates are a good way to quickly inventory losses while providing proof of the loss. We encourage producers to contact their local FSA office for direction on documenting proof of the eligible livestock loss.”