Assistance Coming For Livestock Producers Suffering Heat Related Losses

By: Keller Russell Email
By: Keller Russell Email

Mike Briggs has seen quite a bit in his 20 plus years at his family owned feed yard, but losing 19 head of cattle -- all in one day - will go down in the books.

"This is the second biggest death loss we've ever had at our in history here.." said Briggs.

Sultry summer heat combined with other climate factors and hit the cattle at Briggs' lot with no remorse.

"There wasn't any wind like I said you had a 109 heat index which is really hard on the cattle. Like most producers we do everything we can to keep the cattle comfortable but sometimes mother nature wins," said Briggs.

At about $1,200 a piece, the loss is intensified in an already suffering beef industry.

"This heat and all the cattle's just one more nail in the coffin's been a tough situation," said Briggs.

Briggs says his loss could have been much worse if not for a sprinkler system posted in his lot. He uses the sprinklers on days with high temps, humidity and no breeze.

"Where a lot of people lost hundreds of cattle we only lost 19 and I know that was due to the sprinklers."

The Farm Service Agency said between 3,800 and 4,000 cattle died across 23 counties in central and eastern Nebraska, all around June 22.

"It's quite a bit higher than what we're used to, especially in the month of June," said Tim Reimer, a farm loan specialist with FSA.

Reimer said they're working to get affected producers assistance -requesting a disaster declaration from the FSA administrator in Washington. Under the status, counties which have submitted loss assessment reports would be considered for emergency loans through FSA.

Reimer said the loans are currently at a fixed rate of 3.75 percent.

Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, also announced Tuesday that financial assistance is now available for livestock producers affected by natural disaster through the Livestock Indemnity Program, also known as LIP.

As part of the 2008 Farm Bill, LIP also offers low interest rates. Eligible losses must have occurred on or after Jan. 1,2008 and before Oct.1, 2011.

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