This winter has been snowy and cold, which can cause problems for livestock producers. But with the new farm bill, the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) was renewed. It is an insurance of sorts for farmers who lose animals to disaster.
Matt Deppe with the Iowa Cattlemen's Association says for cattle producers it doesn't get used that often, "But certainly gives the opportunity for those producers who are out there working their tail off each and every day, to get recouped in case of an extreme weather event that causes mortality within their cattle herd."
Most cattle farmers can handle the cold weather by making sure animals are well fed and have wind breaks, barns, or trees to shelter behind. Animals like cows are good at insulating themselves, even to the point of having unmelted snow on their coats. So it is not uncommon to see them in fields in winter.
When a disaster hits, farmers can use LIP to get reimbursed 75 percent of the cost of the animal. Losses don't automatically trigger payments and owners have to provide evidence of such losses to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) with pictures and dates. The Iowa FSA says there has been an uptick in calls this year because of the harsh weather.
Getting calls for program payments is rare according to Deppe because it takes three days of consecutive, extreme conditions, that cause excessive mortality.
Deppe says, "But excessive moisture, excessive wind, excessive temperatures, you name it. So, very specific incidents that would happen and certainly don't happen that often."
Many other animals also are eligible under LIP such as poultry, swine, and sheep.