AUGUST 25, 2020, US Virgin Islands – In the past year, the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) in conjunction with the UVI Cooperative Extension Service Environmental Health and Climate Team, successfully applied for and became a part of the US Drought Monitor which shows the location and intensity of droughts across the United States and its Territories. This became extremely important when the US Virgin Islands experienced a drought beginning in April 2020 which did not abate as expected in May and has continued with minimal relief.
This designation (its first for the St. Thomas-St. John district), qualifies the Virgin Islands for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) which offers payments to eligible livestock producers and grazed forage crop acreage. These payments can help cover up to 60% of monthly feed costs, which is calculated by using the normal carrying capacity of the grazing land. Herein lies another opportunity for assistance for farmers to access funding. Please utilize it for your benefit.
To be eligible for LFP, persons or legal entities must be registered with the USDA FSA; a U.S. citizen, resident alien, partnership of U.S. citizens, a legal entity organized under State law, or an Indian tribe or tribal organization defined in the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act that:
- Own, cash or share lease, or be a contract grower of covered livestock during the 60 calendar days before the beginning date of a qualifying drought.
- Provide pastureland or grazing land for covered livestock, including cash-rented pastureland or grazing land as of the date of the qualifying drought that is:
- Physically located in a county affected by a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period for the county
- Certify that they have suffered a grazing loss because of a qualifying drought; and
- Timely file an acreage report for all grazing land for which a grazing loss is being claimed.
This benefit will be distributed to farmers beginning around July 21, 2020. For more information on the timeline of assistance, broken down by island, please see the chart below.
|Island||Drought Category||You may get assistance payments equal to:|
|St. Croix||D3 (extreme drought)||Four months|
|St. Thomas||D2 (severe drought)||One month|
|St. John||D3 (extreme drought)||Four months|
VIDA would like to thank US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett for their assistance in securing this funding.