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USDA expands assistance to cover feed transport costs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has permanently expanded the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP) to cover feed transportation costs, in addition to water transportation costs.

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Expanded coverage will reimburse producers for portion of feed, water transportation costs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has permanently expanded the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP) to cover feed transportation costs, in addition to water transportation costs, according to a press release from the office of Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Under the expanded coverage, producers will be reimbursed for 60% of feed transportation costs above what would have been incurred in a normal year. Feed transportation costs incurred on January 1, 2021, or after are eligible for ELAP assistance.

Eligible locations include places where:

  • Drought intensity is D2 (severe drought) for eight consecutive weeks as indicated by the U.S. Drought Monitor
  • Drought intensity is D3 (extreme drought) or greater
  • USDA has determined a shortage of local or regional feed availability

Previously, ELAP only compensated producers for the cost of hauling water. Hoeven has been making the case to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Zach Ducheneaux to expand ELAP to include coverage of feed transportation costs. This new ELAP coverage will supplement the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), which provides payments to producers for the cost of hay.

“Our producers have faced severe challenges due to the drought this year and that includes increased feed transportation costs,” said Hoeven. “After hosting FSA Administrator Ducheneaux in North Dakota to hear directly from our farmers and ranchers, we worked with the administrator to expand ELAP to help cover producers’ feed transportation costs. This is much needed assistance and is an important tool in helping our producers weather this drought.”

The deadline to file an application for payment for the 2021 program year is January 31, 2022. Producers should contact their FSA county office or visit fsa.usda.gov/elap for more information.

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