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Assistance Available for Above-normal Livestock Losses

April 10, 2018

Some livestock producers have lost cattle in blizzards this winter and spring, and others are concerned about losing calves as winter weather continues into the 2018 calving season.

The 2014 farm bill provides payments to eligible producers for death losses through the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), according to Karl Hoppe, the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s livestock systems specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center.

The LIP will provide assistance for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality that are a direct result of eligible loss conditions, including adverse weather, diseases or attacks by animals such as wolves. Payments are equal to 75 percent of the market value of the livestock the day before they died.

The LIP applies to the loss of cattle, poultry, swine, sheep, horses, goats, alpacas, deer, elk, emus, llamas and reindeer.

Producers need to keep meticulous records of their operation and livestock losses to apply for LIP assistance, says Andrew Zink, executive director of the Stutsman County Farm Service Agency. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers the program.

Records that producers need include:

  • Exact date of each animal’s death
  • Exact weather event that caused the animal’s death, including conditions and the starting and ending dates of those conditions
  • Legal description of where the death occurred
  • Inventory records for the animal, such as calving/lambing books, record of sales and purchases, and veterinary records
  • Photos documenting the death – photos need to be taken as soon after the death as possible and have the camera’s date stamp on them, and should include a shot of the animal’s ear tag if possible

Producers must document all livestock deaths, which means deaths due to normal mortality as well as those resulting from adverse weather, Zink says.

Also, producers must file a notice of loss with the FSA within 30 days of when the loss is apparent. They must file an application for payment no later than 90 days after the end of the calendar year in which the eligible loss occurred.

Hoppe notes that the normal mortality rates for cattle in North Dakota are:

  • Calves weighing less than 400 pounds – 4.6 percent
  • Calves weighing 400 to 799 pounds – 1.5 percent
  • Calves weighing 800 pounds or more – 1 percent
  • Adult cows – 1.6 percent
  • Adult bulls – 2 percent

Visit for more information about the LIP.

To assist producers during and immediately after calving, the National Weather Service has the Cold Advisory for Newborn Livestock (CANL) system. CANL issues advisories on weather conditions that are dangerous to newborn livestock. Those conditions include wind chill, rain or wet snow, and high humidity.

Source: North Dakota State University