USDA boosts compensation for bison losses in Livestock Indemnity Program

National Bison Association

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Responding to a request filed by the National Bison Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency has implemented a revised compensation level for 2018 bison claims filed under the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), with some rates more than double the previous levels.

The National Bison Association praised the FSA’s action to adjust the 2018 rates but repeated its request to have the rates adjusted for claims filed in 2017 as well.

“We are extremely pleased that the Farm Service Agency looked at the market information and promptly adjusted the rates for bison producers. More importantly, they have developed a model that will allow for market-based adjustments in the years ahead,” said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association. “Now, we hope that they make the adjustments needed to provide compensation for producers suffering losses in 2017.”

USDA’s LIP provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in certain conditions, including eligible adverse weather, wildfires, eligible disease and eligible predator attacks. LIP payments are supposed to equal to 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock.

However, the LIP published compensation rates for bison in recent years have averaged less than 30 percent of the market value of the animals. FSA agreed to re-examine its bison compensation rates last fall after the National Bison Association provided the agency with detailed information regarding current market rates.

Under the new table published for 2018, compensation rates for bison calves less than 400 lbs. are increased to $1,223.84, from the previous level of $447.67. Yearling bison compensation rates were moved to $1,975.46 from the previous level of $951.06. And, mature cows losses are now compensated at the rate of $1,790.61, compared to $914.34 last year.

The bison association has asked Agriculture Secretary Perdue to adjust the rates for 2017 losses as well because of significant losses suffered by bison producers in South Dakota from a a devastating fire in the Black Hills in December. No word has yet been received on that request.