Breaking news…it’s been hot across the Midwest for the past two weeks.  Okay, so it is not breaking news and it is not breaking news to livestock producers that the heat has stressed herds across the country.  The record low national cattle herd has been especially stressed with Iowa alone estimating between 3,400 and 4,000 heat-related cattle deaths.  Per Dan Pillar’s Des Moines Register article found here.

However, what many producers may not know is that a provision of the 2008 Farm Bill may compensate producers for a portion of livestock lost due to heat.  The Livestock Indemnity Program provides benefits to producers for livestock deaths prior to October 1, 2011 as a result of hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires, extreme heat and extreme cold.

In order to receive compensation a producer must file a report of loss with the FSA office within 30 days of death.  Proof of death can usually be established through rendering receipts, dated digital photograph, or veterinarian statement.  Eligible livestock includes cattle, swine, poultry, sheep and goats.  To be eligible, the producer must have legally owned the livestock which was maintained for commercial use as part of a farming operation on the date of death.  Commercial farming operation does not include wild free roaming animals, pets or animals used for recreational purposes, such as hunting or for show.

If eligible, the national payment rate is approximately 75% of the average fair market value of the livestock.  For more details check out Charles Stanley’s MyWebTimes article here and call your local FSA office.

In sum, keep your herds as cool as you can but make sure you take advantage of the programs available in the event of a loss.