‘Livestock Indemnity Program’ an option for ranchers after blizzard buries livestock

RAPID CITY, S.D. — As South Dakota ranchers dig out their cattle, dead or alive, from the mounds of snow dropped by Winter Storm Ulmer, a federal assistance program may be able to compensate owners for eligible losses.

Wednesday’s blizzard covered southwestern South Dakota with piles of snow. Areas around Philip and Wall saw over a foot of snow, while parts of Pine Ridge and Martin were buried in up to two feet of snow.

On the plains, ranchers have been performing small-scale rescue operations to recover cattle entombed in snow drifts.

Dale Jessie Vocu posted a video and photos of farmhands removing snow around a buried bull on Facebook. It survived the storm, but others weren’t so lucky.

However, for cattle owners suffering hardships from the snow storm, the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) can help cover some of the losses.

By contacting a local U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency office, owners can apply for a partial reimbursement of deceased and injured livestock.

Cattle, poultry, swine and other animals must have been killed or injured as a direct result of an eligible loss condition — this includes blizzards, floods, extreme cold and straight-line winds. Also, the livestock must have been legally-owned and used strictly for commercial farming purposes.

However, the “Livestock Indemnity Program Fact Sheet” says the winter storm is only considered an adverse weather event if it “lasts for three consecutive days.”

Payments for eligible losses are calculated as 75 percent of the average market value of the livestock for farmers and 75 percent of the average income loss suffered by contract growers.

A notice of loss must be filed within 30 days of the loss and an application for payment must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the year the event occurred.

For more information on eligibility, visit the LIP fact sheet.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News