Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers

USDA Farm Service Agency

The USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) assists California's farmers and ranchers through farm loans, commodity price support, disaster relief, and conservation practices.

  • Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) – LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather and attacks by animals. LIP payments are equal to 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock as determined by the Secretary. Sign-up will begin on April 15th, 2014, at the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) service center.
  • Livestock Forage Program (LFP) – LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire. LFP payments for drought are equal to 60 percent of the monthly feed cost for up to five months. LFP payments for fire on federally managed rangeland are equal to 50 percent of the monthly feed cost for the number of days the producer is prohibited from grazing the managed rangeland, not to exceed 180 calendar days. Sign-up will begin on April 15, 2014, at the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) service center.
  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, & Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP) – This program provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honey bees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, not covered by LFP and LIP. Total payments are capped at $20 million in a fiscal year. Enrollment begins on April 15th, at the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) service center.

Water Hauling Update: FSA’s Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) now may reimburse livestock operations for water hauling. Previously, this assistance was in FSA’s Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) but applications for water hauling assistance were shifted to ELAP when the disaster assistance sign-ups began in April. The deadline for ELAP water hauling sign-up is November 1, 2014.

  • Tree Assistance Program (TAP) – This program provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. To qualify for TAP, orchardists and nursery tree growers must:
  1. suffer qualifying tree, bush or vine losses in excess of 15 percent (adjusted for normal mortality) from an eligible natural disaster for the individual stand;
  2. have owned the eligible trees, bushes and vines when the natural disaster occurred; however, eligible growers are not required to own the land on which eligible trees, bushes and vines are planted;
  3. replace eligible trees, bushes and vines within 12 months from the date the application is approved.

Enrollment begins on April 15th, at the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) service center.

  • Emergency Farm Loans – This program provides emergency loans to help assist producers with:
    • restoring/replacing essential property;
    • production cost during a disaster year;
    • refinancing of debt and business/living expenses.

Eligibility is restricted to producers within counties designated as disaster areas by the USDA Secretary of Agriculture. Loans are limited to $500,000. Residents of all California counties may apply.

  • Disaster Debt Set-Aside Program – This program provides producers who have existing direct loans with FSA who are unable to make the scheduled payments to move up to one full year’s payment to the end of the loan.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance that results in productive lands and healthy ecosystems.

  • Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) – Conservation Technical Assistance provides help to land users – farmers, ranchers, nonindustrial private forests landowners and tribes – to address opportunities, concerns, and problems related to the use of natural resources and to help land users make sound natural resource management decisions.

USDA Rural Development

The USDA's Rural Development (RD) service provides information and technical assistance to help members of the agricultural community improve the effectiveness of their operations.

  • Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG) – This program assists rural communities that have experienced a significant decline in quantity or quality of drinking water due to an emergency, or in which such decline is considered imminent, to obtain or maintain adequate quantities of water that meets the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Applications are currently being accepted for 2015, but additional funding for this program is currently unavailable for 2014. Please contact the local USDA service center.
  • Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loan Program – Community Facilities Programs provide loans, grants, and loan guarantees for essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population. Loans and guarantees are available to public entities such as municipalities, counties, parishes, boroughs, and special-purpose districts, as well as to non-profit corporations and tribal governments.

US Small Business Administration

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) is an independent agency of the federal government that aids, counsels, assists, and protects the interests of small business concerns.

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) – Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for EIDLs of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. These businesses must be located in counties designated as disaster areas by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The interest rate on EIDLs will not exceed 4 percent per year.

    Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955 or e-mailing