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Drought conditions trigger emergency measures for Kansas producers

Some Kansas counties qualify for emergency Conservation Reserve Program haying and grazing, and other assistance.

Jennifer M. Latzke

August 30, 2022

3 Min Read
Cattle stock trailer
HAULING CATTLE: For many Kansas livestock producers, the summer has meant hauling water to herds, or hauling herds to forage and water resources due to extreme drought conditions. samuel howell /Getty images

Everyone wants to be “exceptional”— until they’re looking at the U.S. Drought Monitor map.

Sadly, a large portion of the western half of Kansas continues to be classified as being in “exceptional” drought as of the Aug. 23 U.S. Drought Monitor map, and it doesn’t seem to be easing up any time soon. In the last 60 days, even those areas that may have had near-normal rainfall couldn’t compete with the excessive heat, further drying out the region’s crops. That has resulted in two-thirds of the state suffering from “severe” drought, or “extreme” and “exceptional” drought for eight or more consecutive weeks.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency reminds livestock producers that the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) is available for those who’ve suffered “above-normal expenses for hauling feed or water to livestock, or hauling livestock to forage/grazing acres due to the impacts of drought.”

Eligibility

Producers must be in qualifying counties, according to the USDA FAS. Currently, 45 Kansas counties have been designated by the USDA as primary disaster areas. They include: Barber, Barton, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Comanche, Cowley, Decatur, Edwards, Ellis, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Harper, Haskell, Kearney, Kiowa, Labette, Meade, Montgomery, Morton, Osborne, Pawnee, Pratt, Rawlins, Reno, Rice, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Wallace, and Wichita. Contiguous counties are also eligible.

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Financial assistance through ELAP covers:

  • the transportation of water to livestock

  • the above-normal cost of mileage for transporting feed to livestock

  • the above-normal cost of transporting livestock to forage or grazing acres

Transportation costs are only reimbursable for loaded miles, one-way, one haul per animal.

“Eligible livestock include cattle, buffalo, goats and sheep, among others, that are maintained for commercial use and located in a county where the qualifying drought conditions occur,” according to the USDA FAS. “A county must have had D2 ‘severe’ drought intensity on the U.S. Drought Monitor for eight consecutive weeks during the normal grazing period, or D3 or D4 drought intensity at any time during the normal grazing period. Producers must have risk in both eligible livestock and eligible grazing land in an eligible county to qualify for ELAP assistance.”

Producers that are transporting water to livestock may get transportation assistance, but only if they’re hauling water to eligible grazing land where they already had adequate watering systems or facilities in place prior to the drought, and that did not normally require water transportation.

Livestock producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent. It’s best to contact the local FSA office as soon as the loss of water resources or feed resources is known, FSA advises. And, as always, document expenses through receipts and other records.

For more information, contact a local USDA Service Center, or visit fsa.usda.gov/disaster.

The USDA Farm Service Agency contributed to this article.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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