Producers who lost livestock to disease, resulting from a weather disaster, have an additional way to become eligible for USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey, who was in Texas this week visiting with ranchers hit by drought and wildfire, announced an administrative clarification to the Livestock Indemnity Program. In the event of disease, this change by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) authorizes local FSA county committees to accept veterinarian certifications that livestock deaths were directly related to adverse weather and unpreventable through good animal husbandry and management. The committees may then use this certification to allow eligibility for producers on a case-by-case basis for LIP. The program provides benefits to agricultural producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather, disease or by attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government. Eligible weather events include earthquakes, hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, blizzard and flooding. South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who requested the change in an April 16 letter to USDA, applauded the move as a way to “ensure adequate indemnification is made for livestock losses that occurred in South Dakota and other states as a result of the wet and cold spring, including recent storm Xanto.”