As wildfires are spreading across south-central Nebraska, we are here to help our cattle community by providing you with the most up-to-date resources and ways you can help.

WILDFIRE RESOURCES

USDA Designates Five Nebraska Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered from a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme or D4 Drought-Exceptional.

Impacted Area: Nebraska

Triggering Disaster: Drought

Application Deadline: April 17, 2023

Primary Counties Eligible: Arthur, Banner, McPherson, Scotts Bluff and Sioux

Contiguous Counties Also Eligible: Nebraska:

Box Butte Grant Lincoln
Cheyenne Hooker Logan
Dawes Keith Morrill
Garden Kimball Thomas

On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery ToolDisaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local  USDA Service Center.

Mental Health 

Mental Health is crucial in tough times. We are here to help you! We have resources to help you through the good and bad times.

Rural Wellness is here

Rural Hotline is here

Communicating with farmers under stress with Susan Harris, watch here.

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to Nebraska Farmers and Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought and Wildfires

The following information was released by the United States Department of Agriculture on April 20, 2022.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help Nebraska farmers and livestock producers across the state recover from recent wildfires and ongoing drought. Producers impacted by these events should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure, and livestock losses and damages.

USDA Disaster Assistance for Drought and Wildfire Recovery

Producers who experience livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality due to wildfires may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). To participate in LIP, producers will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event and must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides eligible producers with compensation for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events, or loss conditions as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.  For drought-impacted areas, ELAP also covers above normal costs to transport feed and water to livestock or haul livestock to forage or other grazing acres. For ELAP, producers will need to file a notice of loss within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days.

Livestock producers may also be eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for 2022 grazing losses due to drought when grazing land or pastureland is physically located in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 intensity for eight consecutive weeks, D3 drought intensity or greater. FSA maintains a list of counties eligible for LFP and makes updates each Thursday.

FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed farm loans, including operating and emergency farm loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing. Producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs. Additionally, FSA has a variety of loan servicing options available for borrowers who are unable to make scheduled payments on their farm loan debt to FSA because of reasons beyond their control.

On May 17, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced they have funding available to assist agricultural producers whose land was impacted by recent wildfires. Landowners have until June 30 to apply.

Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding is available to help producers plan and implement conservation practices on farms and ranches impacted by natural disasters. EQIP funding is available to assist in this wildfire recovery effort by planting cover crops on impacted cropland and to defer grazing on rangeland.

The application signup for this wildfire assistance is happening now and will run through June 30, 2022. Applications will be assessed, and even though some lands may be eligible for assistance, it is not guaranteed that all acres will receive financial assistance due to limited funding.

Interested landowners and operators should contact their local NRCS office in the USDA Service Center for applications and more information.

Read more: USDA Assistance

Hay and Forage Hotline 

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has opened a “Hay and Forage Hotline,” to connect buyers with sellers of hay, pasture, and other types of forage. This Hotline service is available to all buyers and sellers for free. The Department is providing this information as it has been given to us; the listing of individual names does not in any way constitute an endorsement of anyone or their respective product. The Hotline is merely designed to be a clearinghouse of information for producers in need.

The hotline number is (402) 471-4876. Sellers of available hay and forage can contact this number and have their name, contact information, and inventory placed on the “Sellers List,” which is updated regularly. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture will then make the “Sellers List” available to buyers by mail or by this website. Once buyers obtain this information they will be responsible for contacting the sellers directly to negotiate any transactions. Learn more here.

Farm Rescue

The mission of Farm Rescue is to help family farms and ranches bridge crises so they have an opportunity to continue viable operations. Farm Rescue provides planting, haying, harvesting, and livestock feeding assistance to farm and ranch families that have experienced a major injury, illness, or natural disaster.

Farm Rescue gives families a chance to continue their livelihood by providing the necessary equipment and manpower (free of charge) to get the job done.

Apply for assistance: https://farmrescue.org/apply/

FEMA ALERTS
In the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app you can:
  • Receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide.
  • Share real-time notifications with loved ones via text, email, and social media
  • Learn emergency safety tips for over 20 types of disasters, including fires, flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes, volcanoes, and more.
  • Locate open emergency shelters and disaster recovery centers in your area where you can talk to a FEMA representative in person.
  • Prepare for disasters with a customizable emergency kit checklistemergency family plan, and reminders.
You can sign up for emergency text alerts and download the app from FEMA here.