Nebraska Ag Update  |  March 15, 2019
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Gov. Ricketts, agency directors and ag leaders provide an update on the state’s response to the weather and flooding.

Gov. Ricketts, State Agencies Urge Caution as Devastating Flooding, Weather Impacts Continue

Governor Pete Ricketts, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency officials and partner agencies hosted a news conference Thursday to provide an update on the current flooding and severe weather impacting the state. The agencies are continuing to monitor conditions, fielding calls from citizens and community partners, and providing information and resources to keep citizens safe.
News release can be found here. Video of the news conference can be found here.
Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman participated in Thursday’s news conference on the weather emergency in the state. Here are highlights from his comments:

  • Director Wellman thanked Governor Ricketts and Nebraska State Patrol Colonel John Bolduc for issuing a weight waiver on Nebraska roads for dairy trucks during the weather emergency to allow them to move more milk to processing facilities in a timely fashion.
  • He recognized the challenges farmers and ranchers across the state are facing in caring for their livestock during blizzard and flooding conditions, especially since it is occurring during peak calving season. Transportation difficulties are also presenting problems getting feed to all livestock.
  • He mentioned that even when the weather subsides, Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers will face long-term challenges with transportation due to damage incurred to many roadways and bridges.
  • NDA will contact the state’s farm organizations to provide resources and assistance as available.

The severe weather may also be affecting hay stocks in the state. NDA provides the Hay and Forage Hotline for buyers and sellers at no cost.

From the Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Office in Lincoln:

Below are FSA resources that can assist farmers and ranchers as they deal with adverse weather conditions across Nebraska. Those in need of such services are requested to contact their county FSA office, which can be found here.
Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP): This program financially assists producers when they suffer loss of livestock due to adverse weather. As producers assess their individual situations, whether it be the blizzard in the west or the flooding in the east, here are key things to keep in mind:

  1. If you have suffered a loss of livestock, you need to report those losses to your FSA county office within 30 days of when those losses become apparent. This 30-day notification window is critical. A phone call to the county office works for this notification.
    1. Outside of the immediate situations, some producers had some extreme weather in February where folks suffered livestock losses, so depending on when those losses occurred in February, that notification window is closing.
  2. Documentation of losses also is critical. FSA will need some sort of supporting evidence of your losses, and this can include things such as: veterinarian certification, other independent third party certification, rendering receipts and dated photos or video. Documentation is an important part of the application process.
  3. FSA will also need to know the type or weight of the animals lost. Adult animals, so bulls and cows, vs. calves or yearlings, are broken out differently in the LIP program, so that part of the record is important.
  4. Information about the specific weather conditions that caused the losses also is important.

Here is the link to the most recent Fact Sheet about LIP.
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP): This program covers some livestock losses that do not fall under the Livestock Indemnity Program. Specific to the current adverse weather situations in Nebraska, ELAP may be applicable as it can, in certain situations, financially assist with livestock feed losses, such as bales that may have been destroyed in the flood.
Here is the link to the most recent Fact Sheet about ELAP.
Emergency Conservation Program (ECP): ECP can provide some cost-share assistance to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. It also can provide cost-share assistance to help restore fences damaged or lost due to natural disaster. There is quite a bit to this program, and it doesn’t activate automatically. FSA county committees will need to make a request for this program in their local areas. It is critical that producers, if they think they may want to access this cost-share resource, contact their county office about this program before taking any action to repair damages.
Here is the link to the most recent Fact Sheet about ECP.
Other resources and assistance can be found by calling the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline at 800-464-0258.

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