WILLMAR -- Several consecutive days of above average temperatures and excessively high humidity levels resulted in many local livestock producers having livestock that died due to heat stress. The most significant losses were reported by poultry producers.
Livestock producers who recently suffered losses should note that the 2008 farm bill authorized the Livestock Indemnity Program, which provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality.
Eligible livestock include virtually all categories of domestically raised animals, excluding those raised and used for recreational purposes.
Producers with livestock losses should submit a notice of loss to their local Farm Service Agency office within 30 calendar days of when the livestock died.
Producers will need to provide documentation of both the quantity and type of livestock that died. In addition, the documentation provided must verify that the death was the direct result of an eligible adverse weather event.
Examples of verifiable death records would include rendering truck receipts or certificates, veterinary records, bank or other loan documents, production records or private insurance documents.
If adequate verifiable death records are not available, a livestock producer may provide the office with reliable records that can be supported by a verifiable beginning and ending inventory.
Indemnity payments are based on 75 percent of the fair market value of the livestock. Contract growers also qualify for benefits and will be compensated at 75 percent of the average income loss sustained.
Livestock Indemnity Program benefits are limited to $100,000 per person or entity. In addition, any person or entity with an average adjusted gross nonfarm income that exceeds $500,000 will not qualify for benefits.
Applications being accepted for storage facility loan program
It's still several months away, but farmers are already looking ahead and making plans for the fall harvest. Those plans may include increasing their grain storage capacity or upgrading their grain drying and grain handling facilities.
Due to modifications authorized by the 2008 farm bill, many farmers are utilizing the improved and very affordable financing terms that are available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.
Some of the more notable modifications include an increase in the maximum loan amounts; the availability of extended loan terms; and an expanded list of commodities and crops that will qualify for the program.
Previously, the maximum loan amount, including the remaining balance on all other outstanding loans, was limited to $100,000. Under the new provisions, the maximum loan amount has been increased to $500,000.
As in the past, any loans in excess of $50,000 will require additional security. The additional security can consist of either a first lien on the underlying real estate or another form of security, such as a guaranteed letter of credit that meets USDA approval.
Previously, loan terms were limited to a maximum of 7 years. Depending upon the amount of the loan, terms of 7, 10 or 12 years are now available. However, the interest rate in effect for each loan term may be different, based on the rate at which USDA borrows from the Treasury Department.
For example, the interest rate for loans approved during the month of July will be 2.375 percent for a 7-year loan; 3 percent for a 10-year loan; and 3.25 percent for a 12-year loan.
The 2008 farm bill also expanded the list of eligible commodities. In addition to the traditional grain crops like corn, soybeans and small grains, the list of eligible commodities now includes hay, fruit and vegetable crops, and a wide variety of renewable biomass crops.
dairy farms, greenhouse gases focus of USDA study
Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have released the first detailed study on large-scale dairy facilities and their emission of greenhouse gases.
The year-long project involved monitoring the emissions of ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide from a commercial dairy with 10,000 milk cows in southern Idaho. The facility had 20 open-lot pens, two milking parlors, a hospital barn, a maternity barn, a manure solid separator, a 25-acre wastewater storage pond and a 25-acre compost yard.
Concentration data was collected continuously for two to three days each month, along with air temperature, barometric pressure, wind direction and wind speed. After this data was collected, the researchers calculated the average daily emissions of each source area every month.
The results indicated that on the average, the facility generated 3,575 pounds of ammonia, 33,092 pounds of methane and 409 pounds of nitrous oxide every day.
The open lot areas generated 78 percent of the facility's ammonia, 57 percent of its nitrous oxide and 74 percent of the methane emissions during the spring.
In general, the emissions of ammonia and nitrous oxide from the open lots were lower during the late evening and early morning, and then increased throughout the day to peak late in the day.
These daily fluctuations paralleled patterns in wind speed, air temperature and livestock activity, all of which generally increased during the day.
Emissions of ammonia and methane from the wastewater pond and the compost yard were also lower in the late evening and early morning, and increased during the day.
Wes Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.