Congress Directs USDA to Help Farmers Develop Disaster Plans

Each year, under a federal disaster assistance program called the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the US Department of Agriculture shells out tens of millions of dollars to compensate livestock producers for the injuries and/or deaths of farm animals from extreme weather. According to government data analyzed by AWI, in 2019 alone, the total amount awarded under LIP was over $58.5 million, up from about $38 million in 2018. Despite the staggering number of weather-related livestock deaths that occur each year, and the hefty price tag associated with the losses, producers have not been required to demonstrate that they provide their animals with even the most basic protections from extreme weather. AWI worked to secure language in the fiscal year 2020 spending package that directs the USDA to work with producers to develop plans to protect animals during disasters. We hope to see this language strengthened in the future by requiring producers to both develop and execute disaster plans before becoming eligible for LIP payments.

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