2,700 to get USDA disaster assistance

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Program provides relief to livestock, honeybee, farm-raised fish producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency today announced that nearly 2,700 applicants will begin receiving disaster assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for losses experienced from Oct. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014.

The program, re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides disaster relief to livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs.

Eligible losses may include excessive heat or winds, flooding, blizzards, hail, wildfires, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions and diseases, or in the case of honeybees, losses due to colony collapse disorder. Beekeepers, most of whom suffered honeybee colony losses, represent more than half of ELAP recipients.

The farm bill caps ELAP disaster funding at $20 million per federal fiscal year and the Budget Control Act of 2011, passed by Congress, requires USDA to reduce payments by 7.3 percent, beginning Oct. 1, 2014. To accommodate the number of requests for ELAP assistance, which exceeded 2014 funding, payments will be reduced to ensure that all eligible applicants receive a prorated share.

The disaster relief announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on economic gains in rural America over the past six years. Since enactment, the USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, people may visit http://www.usda.gov/farmbill.

To learn more about ELAP, people may visit www.fsa.usda.gov/elap. For more information about the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster assistance programs, people may visit disaster.usda.fsa.gov or contact a local FSA office at http://offices.usda.gov.

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