Reminder for producers to record losses for assistance programs
Reminder for producers to record lossesAs folks begin to assess damages incurred after Hurricane Harvey and historic flooding, please remember to record losses and keep invoices and receipts related to repair and replacement. There are a number of assistance programs available to help ranchers, farmers and producers after a disaster, and many require different forms of proof of damage or loss. Scroll down for more specifics on recording livestock losses.
As of Aug. 28, these are the counties under Gov. Greg Abbott’s disaster declaration:
Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bexar, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kerr, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Live Oak, Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Polk, Refugio, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, Willacy and Wilson counties.
Click or tap here to visit the Office of the Governor’s Proclamation web page to check the declaration status of your county or Click or tap here to visit the FEMA page for major disaster declarations.
The STAR Fund (State of Texas Agriculture Relief Fund) was created solely with monetary donations from private individuals and companies. STAR Fund money may be used to assist farmers and ranchers in rebuilding fences, restoring operations and paying for other agricultural disaster relief. If you’d like to help folks impacted by the wildfire, floods or tornadoes, consider making a donation to the State of Texas Agriculture Relief, or STAR Fund.
TDA offers a cost share (50 percent of eligible expense) to qualified agricultural producers not to exceed $4,000 per applicant. Example: A producer would need to submit documentation for $2,000 of eligible expenses to receive $1,000 in reimbursement. STAR Fund money may be used to assist farmers and ranchers in rebuilding fences, restoring operations and paying for other agricultural disaster relief costs needed to rebuild their producer operations.
If the producer’s county is listed the Texas governor’s declaration of disaster, they have 60 days from the date of the proclamation to turn in an application. Funds are not intended to compensate individuals or businesses for losses incurred, but to assist agriculture producers in cost-sharing some of the unexpected expenses associated with the repair or replacement of items necessary for their agricultural operation.
Producers and agribusiness owners will be required to complete an application and present such information as copies of invoices, proof of payment and proof agricultural loss specifically attributed to the specific natural disaster identified by the Texas Governors Disaster Declaration, property identification number, and other records needed by the department to determine eligibility.
USDA Farm Service Agency Indemnity and Assistance
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers many safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and the Tree Assistance Program. The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Producers located in counties that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to contact their local FSA office to learn what documents can help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.
LIVESTOCK DEATH LOSS DOCUMENTATION
Livestock owners should record all pertinent information of livestock death losses due to adverse weather, disease and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law.
Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by such items as, but not limited to:
• Photographs or video records to document the loss, dated if possible;
• Purchase records, veterinarian records, production records, bank or other loan documents; and
• Written contracts, records assembled for tax purposes, private insurance documents and other similar reliable documents.
Applicants must provide adequate proof that the eligible livestock deaths occurred as a direct result of an eligible adverse weather event, eligible disease or eligible attack by an eligible animal or avian predator in the calendar year for which benefits are being requested. The quantity and kind of livestock that died as a direct result of the eligible event may be documented by:
• Purchase records;
• Veterinarian records;
• Bank or other loan documents;
• Rendering truck receipts or certificates;
• Federal Emergency Management Agency records;
• National Guard records;
• Written contracts;
• Production records;
• Records assembled for tax purposes;
• Property tax records;
• Private insurance documents; and
• Similar documents.
If adequate verifiable proof of death records documentation is not available, FSA will accept reliable records in conjunction with verifiable beginning and ending inventory records as proof of death. Reliable records may include, but are not limited to:
• Contemporaneous producer records existing at the time of the adverse weather event;
• Picture(s) with a date;
• Brand inspection records;
• Dairy herd improvement records; and
• Similar reliable documents.
FSA will accept certifications of livestock deaths by third parties on form CCC-854 along with verifiable beginning and ending inventory documentation if the following conditions are met:
• The livestock owner or livestock contract grower, as applicable, certifies in writing:
° That there is no other documentation of death available; and
° The number of livestock in inventory at the time of the eligible loss condition.
• The third party provides their telephone number, address and a written statement containing:
° Specific details about their knowledge of the livestock deaths;
° Their affiliation with the livestock owner; and
° The accuracy of the deaths claimed by the livestock owner.
FSA will use data furnished by the applicant to determine eligibility for program benefits. Furnishing the data is voluntary; however, without all required data, program benefits will not be approved or provided.