Minnesota livestock producers may benefit financially from three disaster-related programs that were reinstated by the Farm Bill of 2014.  The USDA Farm Service Agency is accepting claims from farmers who suffered animal losses back to October, 2011, related to adverse weather and other conditions.

USDA will pay reimbursement costs to producers who qualify and submit proper documentation, which may include photos, ownership records or purchase and transportation receipts.

Minnesota FSA chief agricultural program specialist Michelle Page expects interest in the program from owners who lost livestock during the extreme cold and blizzards this winter.  She also expects applications for the livestock forage program, which pays producers for livestock losses due to drought or fire on pastureland planted specifically for grazing.

"In 2012 about 50 counties in Minnesota met the criteria for producers to qualify for compensation because of drought conditions," Page said.

Farmers may also qualify for a third program that provides emergency assistance for livestock, honeybee and farm-raised fish producers for eligible losses due to disease and weather conditions. Page said some owners of honeybee operations have suffered colony damage in the past because of late spring food shortages and other conditions.

Farmers should contact their local Farm Service Agency or the state office for more information.

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