Sunday, January 22, 2017

FSA Makes the NY Times

Usually it's bad to be mentioned in the national media.  So it is this time, when an article on bald eagles killing chickens on a Georgia farm includes how FSA administers the Livestock Indemnity Program. Under the program farmers suffering loss of livestock can be compensated.  The loss is roughly calculated by determining the dead divided by the total herd/flock.  But the compensation is not for the total loss, it's for the loss over the normal, the usual.  The usual mortality rate for chickens is 4 percent, but that's for conventional flocks, living indoors.  The Georgia farm is part of the food movement, so his chickens are free range.  So what's the usual mortality rate?  40 percent was FSA's first try; 18 percent was the second, the third is still pending.

(I'm assuming the Livestock Indemnity Program, included in the 2014 farm bill, was intended as an alternative to a crop insurance policy, which livestock producers have been asking for.  The indemnity approach dates back at least to the 60's, when occasionally there was DDT contamination of milk, and we had indemnity payments for that.  Of course DDT was the reason that bald eagles were an endangered species and why there's still stiff laws protecting them.)

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