San Luis Obispo County Farm Service Agency Monthly Update

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US Department of Agriculture

San Luis Obispo County USDA Newsletter  - April 2022

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Disaster Assistance for 2022 Livestock Forage Losses

Cattle Grazing

Producers in San Luis Obispo County are eligible to apply for 2022 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) benefits on small grain, native pasture, and improved pasture.

LFP provides compensation if you suffer grazing losses for covered livestock due to drought on privately owned or cash leased land or fire on federally managed land.

San Luis Obispo County is accepting applications for 2022 LFP now.  To apply, gather your 2022 cattle inventory as follows and contact the SLO County FSA Office:

Adult Beef Bulls and Cows owned on 10/01/2021

Non-Adult Beef Cattle 500 Lbs. or greater owned on 10/01/2021

Non-Adult Beef Less Than 500 Lbs. (Weaned) owned on 10/01/2021

Horses used for Livestock management owned on 10/01/2021

Other Livestock owned for commercial purposes (Sheep, goats, etc.) owned on 10/01/2021

Mitigated livestock sold due to drought conditions between 08/02/2021 and 9/30/2021.

You must complete a CCC-853 and the required supporting documentation no later than January 30, 2023, for 2022 losses.

For additional information about LFP, including eligible livestock and fire criteria, contact the San Luis Obispo County USDA Service Center at (805) 434-0396 ext. 2 or visit

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybee, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)


Due to the persistent drought conditions in the Great Plains and West, FSA will be offering additional relief through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to help ranchers cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage.  This policy enhancement complements previously announced ELAP compensation for hauling feed to livestock.  Soon after FSA announced the assistance for hauling feed to livestock, stakeholders were quick to point out that producers also were hauling the livestock to the feed source as well and encouraged this additional flexibility.    

It is important to note that ELAP livestock and feed hauling compensation will not only be retroactive for 2021 but will also be available for losses in 2022 and subsequent years.   

ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers who have losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs.

Eligible losses include:

  • Livestock - grazing losses not covered under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), loss of purchased feed and/or mechanically harvested feed due to an eligible adverse weather event, additional cost of transporting water because of an eligible drought and additional cost associated with gathering livestock to treat for cattle tick fever.
  • Honeybee - loss of purchased feed due to an eligible adverse weather event, cost of additional feed purchased above normal quantities due to an eligible adverse weather condition, colony losses in excess of normal mortality due to an eligible weather event or loss condition, including CCD, and hive losses due to eligible adverse weather.
  • Farm-Raised Fish - death losses in excess of normal mortality and/or loss of purchased feed due to an eligible adverse weather event.

To calculate ELAP program benefits, an online tool is currently available to help producers document and estimate payments to cover feed transportation cost increases caused by drought and will soon be updated to assist producers with calculations associated with drought related costs incurred for hauling livestock to forage  

More Information   

Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found on, including USDA resources specifically for producer impacted by drought and wildfire and the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.  

If you’ve suffered eligible livestock, honeybee, or farm-raised fish losses during calendar year 2022, you must file:

  • A notice of loss within 30 calendar days after the loss is apparent (15 days for honeybee losses)
  • An application for payment by Jan. 30, 2023

For more information on documentation requirements, contact your San Luis Obispo County USDA Service Center at (805) 434-0396 ext. 2 or visit

USDA Encourages Producers to Enroll in Grassland CRP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages producers and landowners to enroll in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) starting next week through May 13, 2022. Grassland CRP provides a unique opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural landowners to keep land in agricultural production and supplement their income while improving their soils and permanent grass cover.   The program had its highest enrollment in history in 2021 and is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to equip producers with the tools they need to help address climate change and invest in the long-term health of our natural resources.

Grassland CRP is a federally funded voluntary working lands program. Through the program, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides annual rental payments to landowners to maintain and conserve grasslands while allowing producers to graze, hay, and produce seed on that land.  Maintaining the existing permanent cover provides several benefits, including reducing erosion, providing wildlife habitat and migration corridors, and capturing and maintaining carbon in the soil and cover.    

FSA provides participants with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance. The annual rental rate varies by county with a national minimum rental rate of $13 per acre for this signup. Contract duration is 10 or 15 years. 

Grassland CRP National Priority Zones 

Because Grassland CRP supports not only grazing operations but also biodiversity and conserving environmentally sensitive land such as that prone to wind erosion, FSA created two National Priority Zones in 2021: the Greater Yellowstone Migration Corridor and Dust Bowl Zone. As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on conservation in important wildlife corridors and key seasonal ranges, for this year’s signup, FSA is expanding the Greater Yellowstone Wildlife Migration Corridor Priority Zone to include seven additional counties across Montana, Wyoming, and Utah, to help protect the big-game animal migration corridor associated with Wyoming elk, mule deer, and antelope.  

Offers within one of these National Priority Zones will receive an additional 15 ranking points and $5 per acre if at least 50% of the offer is located in the zone. 

Alongside Grassland CRP, producers and landowners can also enroll acres in Continuous CRP under the ongoing sign up, which includes projects available through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE).    

Broadening Reach of Program 

As part of the Agency’s Justice40 efforts, producers and landowners who are historically underserved, including beginning farmers and military veterans, will receive 10 additional ranking points to enhance their offers. 

Additionally, USDA is working to broaden the scope and reach of Grassland CRP by leveraging the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to engage historically underserved communities. CREP is a partnership program that enables states, Tribal governments, non-profit, and private entities to partner with FSA to implement CRP practices and address high priority conservation and environmental objectives. Interested entities are encouraged to contact FSA. 

More Information on CRP   

Landowners and producers interested in Grassland CRP should contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more or to apply for the program before the May 13 deadline.  Additionally, fact sheets and other resources are available at    

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. The working lands signup announced today demonstrates how much it has evolved from the original program that was primarily intended to control soil erosion and only had the option to take enrolled land out of production. The program has expanded over the years and now supports a greater variety of conservation and wildlife benefits, along with the associated economic benefits.    

USDA Updates Farm Loan Programs to Increase Equity

Farm Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating its farm loan programs to better support current borrowers, including historically underserved producers. These improvements are part of USDA’s commitment to increase equity in all programs, including farm loans that provide important access to capital for covering operating expenses and purchasing land and equipment.  

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized FSA to provide equitable relief to certain direct loan borrowers, who are non-compliant with program requirements due to good faith reliance on a material action of, advice of, or non-action from an FSA official. Previously, borrowers may have been required to immediately repay the loan or convert it to a non-program loan with higher interest rates, less favorable terms, and limited loan servicing.  

Now, FSA has additional flexibilities to assist borrowers in such situations. If the agency provided incorrect guidance to an existing direct loan borrower, the agency may provide equitable relief to that borrower. FSA may assist the borrower by allowing the borrower to keep their loans at current rates or other terms received in association with the loan which was determined to be noncompliant or the borrower may receive other equitable relief for the loan as the Agency determines to be appropriate.

USDA encourages producers to reach out to their local loan officials to ensure they fully understand the wide range of loan and servicing options available that can assist them in starting, expanding or maintaining their operation.  

Additional Updates  

Equitable relief is one of several changes authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill that USDA has made to the direct and guaranteed loan programs. Other changes that were previously implemented include:  

  • Modifying the existing three-year farming experience requirement for Direct Farm Ownership loans to include additional items as acceptable experience. 
  • Allowing socially disadvantaged and beginning farmer applicants to receive a guarantee equal to 95%, rather than the otherwise applicable 90% guarantee. 
  • Expanding the definition of and providing additional benefits to veteran farmers. 
  • Allowing borrowers who received restructuring with a write down to maintain eligibility for an Emergency loan. 
  • Expanding the scope of eligible issues and persons covered under the agricultural Certified Mediation Program. 

Additional information on these changes is available in the March 8, 2022 rule on the Federal Register. 

More Background 

FSA has taken other recent steps to increase equity in its programs. Last summer, USDA announced it was providing $67 million in competitive loans through its new Heirs’ Property Relending Program to help agricultural producers and landowners resolve heirs’ land ownership and succession issues. FSA also invested $4.7 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers, which contributed to a fourfold increase in participation by historically underserved producers in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2), a key pandemic assistance program, since April 2021. 

Additionally, in January 2021, Secretary Vilsack announced a temporary suspension of past-due debt collection and foreclosures for distressed direct loan borrowers due to the economic hardship imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Producers can explore available loan options using the Farm Loan Discover Tool on (also available in Spanish) or by contacting their local USDA Service Center. Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Due to the pandemic, some USDA Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Producers can contact their local Service Center to set up an in-person or phone appointment to discuss loan options.  


San Luis Obispo County USDA Service Center

65 S Main Street
Suite 106
Templeton, CA 93465

Phone:805-434-0396 ext. 2


Jeffrey Sledd 805-536-3177


Gary Troester 805-863-9937


Jody Lyon, Lead Program Technician

Kim Kelley, Program Technician

Riley Haas, Program Technician

Haydee Rivers, Program Technician


Tarry Hetzel, Farm Loan Analyst

Daisy Banda, Farm Loan Officer Trainee




LAA 1 - Nicolette Alford

LAA 2 - Daniel Jaureguy

LAA 3 - Lonnie Twisselman

Advisor - Arguimiro Casas


Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 10:00am 





8:00 AM - 4:30 PM