Drought

Has your agricultural operation been impacted by drought? USDA offers programs that can help with recovery as well as those that can help you manage risk and build resilience on your operation.

Recovery on Your Operation

USDA offers a suite of disaster assistance programs that can help with recovery, including:

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides compensation for feed losses as well as expenses associated with transportation of water and feed to livestock.

On that page you will find the ELAP Feed Transportation Tool that helps document and estimate payments to cover feed transportation costs caused by drought. 

Emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres

When authorized, the Emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres allows producers to graze livestock on lands enrolled in CRP, except for during primary nesting season.

Livestock Forage Disaster Program

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides benefits for 2021 grazing losses due to drought.

Livestock Forage Disaster Program benefits may also be available for loss of grazing acres due to wildfires on federally managed lands on which a producer is prohibited, by a federal agency, from grazing normally permitted livestock.

Tree Assistance Program

The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides cost-share assistance to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes or vines lost during the drought.

This program provides assistance for trees, bushes or vines not covered by NAP or crop insurance. 

Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program

The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) provide financial and technical assistance to restore conservation practices like fencing, damaged farmland or forests.  

ECP can also help put in place practices for water conservation during severe drought.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices.

Common practices to help recover from drought include forest management plans, tree/shrub establishment, brush management, prescribed grazing, pasture and hay planting, wildlife habitat, livestock watering systems and cover crops.

FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed loans, including operating and emergency loans, to eligible producers unable to secure commercial financing. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs.

Protect Your Operation

If you do not have crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage, we recommend you consider a risk management option for your operation. 

Reporting Losses

If your operation was impacted by a natural disaster and you have an interest in participating in an available disaster assistance program, you should report losses and damages to FSA and/or your Approved Insurance Provider for crop insurance claims.

Timelines to file notices of loss differ by program or coverage:

  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program: File with your Service Center within 30 days for livestock and fish and within 15 days for honeybees.
  • Tree Assistance Program: File a program application with your Service Center within 90 days.
  • Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program: File notice of loss with your Service Center within 15 days, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be filed within 72 hours.
  • Crop Insurance: Contact your agent within 72 hours of discovering damage and follow up in writing within 15 days.

Impacts of Drought

The U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor is an online, weekly map showing the location, extent, and severity of drought across the United States. It categorizes the entire country as being in one of six levels of drought. The map is released on Thursdays and depicts conditions for the week that ended the preceding Tuesday.

We use the Drought Monitor to determine a producer’s eligibility for certain drought assistance programs, like LFP and emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres. 

The Drought Monitor is also used to determine “fast track” Secretarial disaster designations for severe drought, that provide for a nearly automatic designation when, during the growing season, any portion of a county meets the D2 (Severe Drought) drought intensity value for eight consecutive weeks or a higher drought intensity value for any length of time as reported in the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Map of the united states that highlights drought areas.

The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to designate counties as disaster areas to make emergency (EM) loans available to producers suffering losses in those counties and in counties that are contiguous to a designated county.

Download the fact sheet to learn more about the Drought Monitor and USDA drought programs.

Resources

Translated Resources

Visit our Translations page to find translated disaster resources and other USDA resources in languages other than English.

Latest News

Find Your Local Service Center

We are committed to delivering USDA services to America’s farmers and ranchers while taking safety measures in response to the pandemic. Some USDA offices are beginning to reopen to limited visitors by appointment only. Service Center staff also continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Learn more at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

Visit the Risk Management Agency website to find a regional or compliance office or to find an insurance agent near you.