Landowners, ranchers can now pair NRCS, FSA programs


SUBLETTE COUNTY – In time to account for this past calving season and this summer’s grazing, the Farm Service Agency just upped the ante for losses of very young beef cattle and bison by raising compensation for young under 250 pounds, in the Livestock Indemnity Program.

The Farm Service Agency already helps reimburse producers whose livestock are killed by wolves and bears in the state’s predator management zone, and with good record-keeping, poisonous plants, drought and bad weather.

FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux of South Dakota announced the increase for a beef calf under 250 pounds from $175.27 to $474.38 per head. For bison, compensation rose from $336.84 to $599.15 per head.

Updated LIP payment rates take effect immediately and will be applied retroactively starting Jan. 1, 2022, for all eligible causes of loss including excessive heat, tornado, winter storms and other qualifying natural disasters.

Wide range

Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the FSA offers a wide range of federally funded programs, including pre-filled applications for emergency loans and grants. FSA compensated for above-normal costs to haul water to drought-stricken livestock and added compensation to haul feed to livestock and livestock to forage or other grazing acres.

FSA will invest $10 million for agriculture-oriented taxpayer education plus $4.5 million in outreach for the Conservation Reserve Program’s Transition Incentives Program to help beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers access land.

Habitat leases

In Wyoming, FSA also announced the new Big Game Conservation Partnership pilot that “rewards landowners for providing valuable ecological services for the public good, including direct compensation through 10- to 15-year habitat leases.”

In Sublette, Teton, Lincoln, Park, Fremont and Hot Springs counties, USDA is investing $15 million for stewardship activities:

  • Conserve big game habitat and sustain working ranches for future generations through the  Agricultural Conservation Easements Program to ensure land is not subdivided, mined or developed.
  • Enhance rangeland and water resources for wildlife and livestock through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program to help landowners repair wet meadows or eroding streams, get rid of invasive weeds and replace or remove fences so wildlife can move easily.
  • Foster healthy native plants and productive grazing land through the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program, paying landowners an annual habitat lease in exchange for keeping native grasslands intact while still grazing livestock. This novel pilot rewards landowners for providing valuable ecological services for the public good, including direct compensation through 10- to 15-year habitat leases.

With a habitat lease, ranchers can make “a reasonable livelihood producing agricultural products while also keeping habitat healthy and whole.”

Use both now

This Wyoming pilot also allows landowners to receive Farm Bill payments from both the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency for the first time. A rancher could use EQIP to manage invasive cheatgrass and then use Grasslands CRP to maintain native plants after weed treatment.

The USDA collaborates with Wyoming Game and Fish, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and others. For more information about this USDA pilot, contact Jennifer Hayward, NRCS conservationist, at the USDA Service Center, 1625 W. Pine Street, Pinedale, or call 307-367-2257.