Drought Aid Information Mailed to Livestock Producers in 24 Counties

Explains how livestock owners benefit from USDA award.

Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky today announced that information about a USDA-funded livestock assistance grant program to offset the impact of lost forage production, increased feed and water costs, and relocation expenses due to drought was mailed to livestock owners in 24 counties.

"We wanted to get the application form and a letter of explanation to livestock producers as quickly as we could, so we opted for direct mail," Polansky says. "With harvest and fall planting well under way, we understand it's not easy for folks to leave the farm to pick up the needed forms. We hope we've made the process a little easier by mailing the information."

The letter explains what livestock owners must do to get a share of the $948,511 awarded to Kansas from $50 million that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns announced would be available to help livestock producers in drought-plagued areas of the country who have suffered forage production losses, increased feed and water costs, or livestock relocation expenses.

Livestock owners in 24 Kansas counties that reached extreme (D3) or exceptional (D4) drought status on the U.S. Drought Monitor between March 7 and August 31, 2006, are eligible to participate in the program.

Those counties are Bourbon, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Clark, Comanche, Crawford, Finney, Ford, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Labette, Meade, Morton, Rawlins, Scott, Seward, Stanton, Stevens, Wallace and Wichita.

Eligible livestock includes mature beef cattle, sheep, goats and other mature livestock on forage between March 7 and May 1, 2006. Mature animals include livestock kept for breeding purposes that have birthed or are at least 2 years old for cattle and 1 year old for sheet and goats that have not been neutered. Other mature animals on forage, such as horses, bison and llamas, also are eligible for the program.

The application form must be completed and returned to the Kansas Department of Agriculture by October 31. After that, the applications will be processed and funds will be dispersed based on the number of livestock submitted to participate in the program. The amount of aid a livestock owner may receive can not exceed the amount of actual losses as a result of drought in 2006, nor can it exceed $10,000.

"The grant Kansas received will not, by any means, fully compensate livestock owners for their forage losses and increased expenses, but it helps," Polansky says "We are doing all we can to ensure applications get processed and payments mailed to livestock owners before the end of the year."

Livestock owners in eligible counties who do not receive a letter and application form from the department within the next week may obtain them from their local Farm Service Agency or County Extension office. The documents also are available on the Kansas Department of Agriculture website at
http://www.ksda.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=486.

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