USDA Adjusts 2018 Livestock Indemnity Rates on Bison; Still No Word on 2017

The USDA Farm Service Agency has formally implemented a revised compensation level for bison claims in 2018, with the rates more than double the previous levels. However, the agency has not yet responded to the National Bison Association’s request to adjust the rates for claims filed on losses in 2017.

The rate adjustment came in response to a formal request filed by the NBA in November. The association filed the request after learning that the rates being offered to bison producers were unrealistically low, when compared to actual market values.

Under the LIP rules, livestock producers qualifying for claims under LIP are to receive 75 percent of the market value of the animals covered. However, the 2017 rates for LIP pegged bison calves at $447.66 and bison cows at $914.34. The rates also combined bison and beefalo in the same category.

After receiving significant market data from the NBA, the FSA agreed to revisit the formula used to determine the compensation rates. The changes made by FSA are:

                        2017 Rate -  2018 Rate
Bison Bulls      $1,714.39 -  $2,160.36
Bison Cows     $914.34  - $1,790.61
Bison Calves <400 lbs. $447.67 -  $1,225.84
Bison Calves 400 lb. 799 lbs. $607.56 -  $1,471.34
Bison Calves 800 lbs. + $951.06 -  $1,975.46

The agency also separated bison from beefalo in terms of compensation rates.

In January, the NBA Board of Directors sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that the rates be adjusted for 2017 to reflect actual market value last year. The USDA has not yet responded to that request.

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