Heather Gessner, South Dakota State University Extension livestock business management field specialist, is watching the drought situation. She answered the following five questions about the feed assistance that is available to stockgrowers.
What feed assistance is available?
The 2014 Farm Bill includes a Livestock Forage Program.
To be eligible you must own or lease ground in a county that the U.S. Drought Monitor, during the normal grazing period, has classified as D2 for eight consecutive weeks, or has been designated as D3 or D4. Continuous week provisions are included at D3 and D4 and relate to the number of monthly payments you can be eligible to receive.
Also you must:
own, lease or contract-feed any of the covered classes of livestock during the 60 calendar days prior to the qualifying drought or fire occurrence
provide pasture or grazing land in the qualified county or have been prohibited from grazing federally managed rangeland due to a qualifying fire occurrence
certify grazing losses to have occurred due to the qualifying drought or fire occurrence
file Farm Service Agency form CCC-853 with the FSA for all grazing acres that qualify due to forage losses due to drought or fire by the deadline
What livestock qualifies?
Qualified livestock include: beef, dairy, buffalo, sheep, goats, deer, equine, swine, elk, poultry, reindeer, alpacas, emus and llamas.
How much money is available?
FSA determines the rate. It is equal to 60% of the lesser of either the monthly feed cost for all covered livestock owned or leased by the producer or calculated from the normal carrying capacity of the eligible acres.
For 2016, the monthly payment rate for adult beef bulls and cows is $32.36; for beef nonadult animals weighing 500 pounds or more, it is $24.27, and the all-sheep rate is $8.09.
The number of weeks a county is designated as a D2, D3 or D4 drought per the U.S Drought Monitor determines the number of months of feed assistance that can be received.
If you have sold off animals due to the drought, contact the FSA office regarding special provision in the program for those animals.