USDA has announced that Livestock Compensation Program (LCP) payments would begin Oct. 10 for cattle, sheep, goat and buffalo producers in counties that have received primary disaster designation due to drought.

“Signup for the LCP began just last week and producers will begin to receive payments as early as today,” said USDA Secretary Ann M. Veneman. “The Bush administration continues to use every available tool to provide disaster assistance to America's farmers and ranchers who have been struck by severe drought conditions.”

Veneman said direct payments are available to eligible livestock producers in counties that have received primary disaster designations due to drought in 2001 and/or 2002. A county that has a secretarial disaster designation request pending for drought as of Sept. 19, 2002, and is subsequently approved as a primary county, will also be eligible.

LCP applications have been accepted in 1,189 approved counties in 35 states.

Other programs available for farmers and ranchers struck by severe drought conditions include: a $150 million feed assistance program to help cow-calf operators in Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota; emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres nationally to provide relief for farmers and ranchers, which is valued at $100 million; and Emergency Conservation Program to help producers rehabilitate farmlands damaged by natural disasters.

In addition, the Federal Crop Insurance program provides indemnities for production and revenue losses; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to eligible producers affected by natural disasters. The Emergency Loan Program makes farmers and ranchers immediately eligible for USDA low interest emergency (EM) loans in agricultural disaster areas.

In addition, producers in counties that have disaster designation requests pending as of today and which are subsequently approved will also be eligible to participate in the Emergency Loan Program.