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Cattlemen: Report losses due to heat

By Staff | Jul 29, 2011

AMES – Stifling heat that has lingered over Iowa duirng a five-days stretch last week led to reports of cattle death losses across the state.

“In some cases, producers have reported just one or two cattle dying, but reports of larger losses are starting to trickle in,” said Dal Grooms, communications director for the Iowa Cattlemens Association.

Compared to other animals, cattle rely on respiration more than sweating to cool off. The heavy humidity, lack of wind and continued high temperatures through the night make it very difficult for cattle to cool down.

“Producers are working hard to protect their cattle by providing shade, extra water and sprinkling systems, and that is where their efforts need to be right now.

“But once this heat has passed, they need to concentrate on reporting any of their losses through the Livestock Indemnity Program at their local FSA office,” Grooms said.

LIP is a program that has not been used much by Iowa livestock farmers, so it’s important that they understand how it works.

LIP only provides 30 days to report a loss after it has occurred.

“While there are exclusions in the program, it is critical that producers make a timely notice of loss report so they can be included if they qualify,” Grooms said.

Once a report is made, and livestock continue to succumb because of the same weather event, those numbers can be included for the event.

ICA is recommending that producers document their losses, as well as the measures they took to protect the cattle.

“Rendering truck receipts, photos, and third party verifications from veterinarians, extension personnel or insurance adjusters are important, as is noting the approximate weight of the cattle that died.

Likewise, take photos of your sprinkler systems, pen set-up and shade,” Grooms said.

The 2008 farm bill included LIP, which provides benefits to producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather.

The details of the program are available from the Farm Service Agency, which administers the program. In most cases, the program will provide coverage up to 75 percent of the value of the animal.

For the payment, producers must file an application for payment with FSA.

LIP is scheduled to close on Oct. 1 and continued funding for it is unsure.

“We encourage cattle producers to make that application for payment as soon as they think their herd as fully recovered from the effects of this heat,” Grooms said.

That is the time to also bring in documentation to the FSA office.

The indemnity may not make producers whole, but it does keep this situation from becoming a financial disaster, ICA said.

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