Ranchers whose pastures have been flooded by Hurricane Harvey, leaving cattle stranded or displaced, will get emergency assistance from the Department of Agriculture.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has already teamed up with veterinarians and the Texas Animal Health Commission to provide on-site assessments and employ horseback emergency response teams to save cattle. Still, they cannot fully assess livestock losses, said Texas Animal Health Commission spokesman Thomas Swafford.
“A lot of people have cut their fences and let the animals escape,” said Swafford. “We ... will be checking in with local crews often.”
The ranch and farm owners are in a holding pattern because of damage to their homes and the need to evacuate people, Texas and Southern Cattle Raisers Association spokesman Jeremy Fuchs told Bloomberg BNA in a phone call.
“We are anxious and ready to assist as we are able,” said Fuchs.
Hurricane Harvey is still soaking southeast Texas with more than 40 inches of rain since Friday Aug. 25 and is now targeting the upper Texas coast and parts of Louisiana. The rainfall is set to continue throughout the week, causing serious concern to ranchers in the surrounding areas.
Corey Christian and his wife, Sandi, moved their 500-head herd three miles Aug. 28, a “huge undertaking” according to Christian, owner and operator of Christian Services LLC and Christian Farms. “It’s just horrific. I feel like we should have done this two weeks ago,” he told Bloomberg BNA.
There are a number of state programs that provide assistance to agricultural producers, said Fuchs. The most important thing is getting that information out and making sure they are aware of those resources, he said.
Livestock specialist Tracy Tomascik told Bloomberg BNA he hopes that the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) will provide support to ranchers. To benefit from the program, “eligible adverse weather” must be determined by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
“It is a critical program,” said Tomascik who supports a potential expansion of ELAP in the 2018 farm bill.
ELAP was included in the 2014 farm bill, authorizing as much as $20 million in Commodity Credit funds in a fiscal year. It covers losses that are not covered under the other disaster assistance programs such as the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), also written into the 2014 farm bill.
The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality. LIP would provide payments equal to 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock. LIP eligibility must also first be determined by Secretary Perdue. He mentions the assistance programs in a press release sent Aug. 25.
Although for the time being APHIS has been very attentive, said Tomascik, "[a]t this point what we’re doing is getting ready to re-enter the flood areas and take account of what has all happened.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Teaganne Finn in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at pHendrie@bna.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)