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Posted 04/19/2022

Member Alert

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Member Update:

April 19, 2022


Livestock Indemnity Program provides help for blizzard-related deaths

April blizzards may bring May flowers, but blizzards can also cause newborn calves and other livestock to become smothered, trampled and die due to the conditions created by adverse weather. These death losses can create an emotional and financial burden for producers.


North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension specialists encourage ranchers to inquire about the Livestock Indemnity Program provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA).


“The Livestock Indemnity 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,” said Karl Hoppe, NDSU Extension livestock systems specialist.


The Livestock Indemnity Program applies to the loss of cattle, poultry, swine, sheep, horses, goats, bison and other eligible livestock. A fact sheet for the Livestock Indemnity Program is available on the FSA website.


“Ranchers must file a notice of loss with FSA within 30 days of when the loss is apparent,” said Hoppe. “They also must file an application for payment no later than 60 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the eligible loss occurred.”


The Livestock Indemnity Program requires a deduction for normal mortality and these need to be documented, he added. These normal mortalities do not have to be weather related.


The normal morality rates for cattle in North Dakota are:

  • Calves weighing less than 400 pounds ‐ 4.6 percent
  • Calves weighing 400 to 799 pounds ‐ 1.5 percent
  • Calves weighing 800 pounds or more ‐ 1 percent
  • Adult cows ‐ 1.6 percent
  • Adult bulls ‐ 2 percent


NDSU Extension working to compile storm impact data, NDSA will assist

The North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension is assessing the recent spring storm impacts on the state’s livestock industry. This information is being used to determine the need for assistance programs and areas with the greatest need. Producers are encouraged to contact their local NDSU Extension office to discuss the impacts they are facing. The NDSU Extension Office Directory can be found here. Producers are also welcome to call the NDSA office at (701) 223-2522. The data collected at the NDSA will be shared with NDSU Extension to add to its tallies.


NDSA comments on park’s livestock management plan proposal

The NDSA issued official comments to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) yesterday on its proposed livestock management plan. The NDSA had earlier requested an extension on the comment period. A three-day extension was granted.


In the NDSA’s remarks yesterday, Tim Erbele, Animal Health Committee chairman, reiterated the ask for a longer comment period. “Besides an initially short comment period, limited direct information to key stakeholders and livestock producers being in the heart of calving season, the state was devastated with an epic blizzard leaving cattle ranchers literally fighting for their animals’ lives this past week and now contending with the aftermath of the historic storm,” he wrote. “Considering the park itself was closed during this period, it would be a sign of good faith for it to give entities and individuals more time to analyze and comment on the six proposed alternatives.”


He underscored the significance of the state’s cattle industry as one of North Dakota’s economic pillars, responsible for approximately $1 billion in direct cash receipts each year, and pointed out that the park is situated in the heart of cattle country, with Billings County home to an estimated 33,000 head and McKenzie County, the fourth most populated cattle county in North Dakota, home to an estimated 83,000 head. “The NDSA is interested in the park’s livestock management plan to make sure it does not negatively impact neighboring livestock herds or the broader state beef cattle industry,” he explained.


An overarching question the organization has about each of the alternatives presented, he said, is the source of the cattle and horses the park intends to use under the various scenarios, noting that the civic engagement meeting and park materials did not reveal the park’s sourcing plan, nor its current source(s) of replacement animals. “Different regions of the country, obviously, have different disease risks and it is imperative that the park takes the appropriate steps to mitigate the introduction of disease into its herd and the broader North Dakota herd,” Erbele wrote. “Obviously, under any of the alternatives, these animals must strictly follow the import requirements as established by the State Board of Animal Health (BAH), and we urge the park to stay in close communication with the BAH to protect the domestic herd.”


In the comments, he also urged the park to take the necessary precautions to prevent park animals from trespassing onto privately owned property; asked about the strategies used to mitigate mycoplasma infestation; and urged the park to make sure key stakeholders, especially neighboring livestock operations, are aware of opportunities to provide feedback as the livestock management planning process continues.


NDSA joins with ag partners in filing amicus brief

On Friday, the NDSA joined with a coalition of ag partners in submitting an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, urging it to adopt a limited, clear definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) that provides long overdue certainty for cattle producers. The coalition is submitting the brief because the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing the case Sackett v. EPA, which challenges the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Water Act. The case has implications for the livestock industry and will impact the Biden Administration’s rulemaking on WOTUS.


“Unnecessary and burdensome rules threaten the viability of cattle operations,” NDSA Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson explained. “Cattle producers and other small business owners have faced years of inconsistent interpretation regarding the reach of federal jurisdiction on WOTUS. Policy changes and litigation have led to ever-changing requirements, making it difficult for regulated stakeholders to rely on consistent standards.”