Recent Texas flooding is creating challenges for livestock producers and individuals in low-lying areas. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Disaster Assessment and Recovery, DAR, agents advise producers to be mindful of several resources as recovery activities begin.

“Our Disaster Assessment and Recovery agents will assist with recovery efforts as these waters recede and assessments can be made to fences, infrastructure and other property,” said Monty Dozier, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension Disaster Assessment and Recovery program director.

Car in flooded waters as people on golf cart look on.
Recent Texas flooding is creating challenges for livestock producers and individuals in low-lying areas. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Disaster Assessment and Recovery, DAR, agents advise producers to be mindful of several resources as recovery activities begin. (Courtney Sacco/Texas A&M AgriLife)

In the meantime, livestock producers and landowners may encounter distressed or displaced livestock.

“It’s not uncommon for livestock and even outdoor pets to become displaced as waters rise in some of these low-lying areas,” said Jeff Fant, AgriLife Extension West region DAR chief.

Reporting, documenting

The following are helpful tips and assistance information:

  • Missing cattle: If you spot stranded or stray cattle, report to the local county sheriff’s department or contact your local AgriLife Extension county agent. Authorities will assist in gathering the livestock and use brand identification to locate the owner.
  • Documenting losses: Livestock owners could be eligible for federal assistance, so they should record all pertinent information on livestock death losses due to wildfire. Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented, when possible, by such items as, but not limited to:
  • Photographs or video records to document the loss, dated if possible.
  • Purchase records, veterinarian records, production records and bank or other loan documents.
  • Written contracts, records assembled for tax purposes, private insurance documents and other similar reliable documents.
  • Quantity and kind of livestock that died directly from the eligible event. This may be documented by purchase records, veterinarian records, bank or other loan documents, as well as rendering truck receipts or certificates, production records and records assembled for tax purposes.

The Livestock Indemnity Program, LIP, aids with livestock losses due to disasters, including flooding. LIP provides indemnity payments for livestock killed in floods that had to be euthanized as a direct result of the flooding or were injured and had to be sold within 30 days for a reduced rate. 

The payment rate for 2024 losses will be released later this month. Producers must provide records of their losses, including inventories, financial records, photographs, rendering receipts and veterinary certifications. The deadline to provide notice of loss and a payment application is 60 days after the calendar year in which the loss occurred.

The Texas Department of Agriculture’s STAR Fund application is also open for this event.

Carcass disposal guidelines are available from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Water well testing

“You should not use water from a flooded well for drinking, cooking, making ice or brushing your teeth until you are satisfied it is not contaminated,” Dozier said.

The Texas Well Owner Network has flood resources available regarding contaminated flooded wells and system testing. Homeowners with water wells that have been submerged should assume their wells are contaminated and will need testing. Resources are also available on disinfecting water well systems.

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