USDA Ready to Help Mendocino and Lake County Farmers and Ranchers Recover from Recent Wildfires

Ukiah, CA, September 16, 2020 — Recent wildfires have impacted farmers and ranchers in Mendocino and Lake Counties. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), has disaster assistance programs available to help agricultural producers recover after natural disasters, including wildfires.

“FSA offers a variety of disaster assistance programs to support farmers and ranchers through times of adversity,” said Katie Delbar, County Executive Director for FSA in Mendocino and Lake County. “Many disaster programs have a 30-day window to report losses, so once producers are able to evaluate their losses, it is important to contact the local FSA office to report all damages and losses and learn more about how we can assist.”

FSA offers many programs to help producers recover from losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP), Emergency Forest Restoration Program and the Tree Assistance Program. Producers located in counties receiving a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. 

To participate in LIP, producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent. In addition, livestock producers should bring supporting evidence, including documentation of the number and kind of livestock that died, photographs or video records to document the loss, purchase records, veterinarian records, production records, and other similar documents. Owners who sold injured livestock for a reduced price because the livestock was injured due to an adverse weather event, must provide verifiable evidence of the reduced sale of the livestock.

To participate in ELAP, producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent. Producers should also maintain records and receipts documenting that livestock were removed from the grazing pasture due to adverse weather, costs of transporting livestock feed to eligible livestock, receipts for equipment rental fees for hay lifts, and feed purchase receipts.

The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. 

Compensation also is available to producers who purchased coverage through FSA's  Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting. Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for 2020 crops and file a notice of loss and application for payment on qualifying crops.

Please contact the local FSA office at 707-468-9223 (ext. 2) for more information about our disaster assistance programs or visit farmers.gov/recover.


By John M Harper
Author - County Director Mendocino & Lake/Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor