WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture has announced a July 20-Sept. 17 application window for livestock and poultry producers to seek compensation for the cost of depopulation and disposal of animals incurred by insufficient access to processing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP) was announced via recorded remarks by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack during the July 11-14 National Pork Industry Conference in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

“Throughout the pandemic, we learned very quickly the importance and vulnerability of the supply chain to our food supply,” Mr. Vilsack said. “Many livestock producers had to make the unfortunate decision to depopulate their livestock inventory when there simply was no other option. This targeted assistance will help livestock and poultry producers that were among the hardest hit by the pandemic alleviate some financial burden from these losses.”

Producers who had legal ownership of swine, chickens and turkeys physically located in the United States or a territory of the United States and depopulated from March 1 through Dec. 26, 2020, are eligible. Producers must have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $900,000 for tax years 2016, 2017 and 2018. Packers, live poultry dealers and contract growers are not eligible.

PLIP payments under the USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative were authorized in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Payments will be based on 80% of the fair market value of the livestock and poultry, as well as the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animal. Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program applications (Form FSA-620) will be submitted to Farm Service Agency, administrator of the program. Producers can find application details at farmers.gov/plip and find a nearby FSA office at farmers.gov/service-locator or by calling call 877-508-8364.

PLIP payments will be calculated by multiplying the number of head of eligible livestock or poultry by the payment rate per head, less the amount of any payments the eligible livestock or poultry owner has received for disposal of the livestock or poultry under the Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program or a state program. The payments also will be reduced by any Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments paid on the same inventory of swine that were depopulated.

The USDA has announced more than $7 billion in assistance to producers and agriculture entities since the Pandemic Assistance initiative began in March. Details can be found at farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance.

Pork producers are expected to comprise the bulk of PLIP assistance payments. In addition, the USDA has set aside up to $50 million in pandemic assistance to provide additional funds to small hog producers that use the spot market or negotiate prices. Those funds were approved after the USDA examined negotiated hog prices and versus the five-year average and found a significant drop during April through September of 2020 during the first six months of the pandemic.

Details on the dissemination of that targeted assistance are expected to be available later this summer.