December 02, 2009

Udall Encourages Local Producers to Take Advantage of Livestock Disaster Assistance

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) today encouraged New Mexico ranchers and livestock producers impacted by droughts and wildfires in 2008 to apply for federal aid before next week's Dec. 10 deadline.

Udall joined Salomon Ramirez, state executive director for the New Mexico Farm Service Agency (FSA), in reminding eligible ranchers and livestock producers from Chaves, Doña Ana, Eddy, Harding, Hidalgo, Grant, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Sierra and Union counties to apply for benefits under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) by Dec. 10.

"As we rely on our local producers more and more for our food security, it is essential that we support them in the face of harsh weather challenges," Udall said. "I encourage our cattle growers and livestock producers to apply for these benefits and put this money to good use in New Mexico ranches."

"There is a clear need for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program in light of recent fires and droughts in these regions," Ramirez said. "It is essential that producers who have incurred losses are aware of this aid and take advantage of it before it is too late."

To be eligible, ranchers or livestock producers must have suffered losses in 2008 due to fire or drought and either:

1) have purchased insurance coverage through FSA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) or the Pasture, Rangeland and Forage Insurance (PRF) program;

-or-

2) meet the requirements of a Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, or Beginning Farmers or Ranchers, as defined in the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, Section 2501 (e) (7 U.S.C. 2279(e)).

A socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is one who belongs to one of the following groups: American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and Hispanic.

Producers can use the USDA's Limited Resource Self-Determination Tool to determine if they qualify as a limited resource producer. The tool is available at http://www.lrftool.sc.egov.usda.gov/tool.asp.

In order to meet eligibility requirements as a Beginner Farmer or Rancher, a producer must not have operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 consecutive years and materially and substantially participate in the operation of a farm.

However, eligibility may also be limited based on adjusted gross income eligibility requirements. The deadline for losses incurred during the 2009 calendar year is January 30, 2010.