With much of California currently facing extremely dry conditions, on March 5, 2021, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack declared “50 California counties as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought.” The eight remaining counties in California were deemed as “contiguous disaster counties,” putting farmers and ranchers in all counties of the state under a natural disaster designation.

“A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met,” Secretary Vilsack said in the letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom designating the drought.

Three of the most commonly used USDA FSA programs used by cattle producers for drought assistance are: The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP), The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). Click on the USDA factsheets below to learn more about each program and contact your local FSA office for specific questions and eligibility for applying or enrolling.

ELAP Factsheet
NAP Factsheet
California FSA offices link to map


USDA has created a map to help producers pin down contact information for their respective county offices. Click on the outline of California to be redirected to FSA’s interactive map to locate your county office’s contact information.

Find Contact Information

U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor helps USDA determine access to some assistance programs including The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and The Livestock Forage Disaster Program.

Go to Monitor