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State Unveils Drought Assistance Grant Guidelines

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture recently unveiled guidelines for distributing money from the Livestock Assistance Grant Program to livestock producers suffering forage losses due to the 2006 drought.

South Dakota will receive approximately $4.3 million dollars to be allocated to livestock producers in qualifying counties. This amount was calculated by USDA, based on the number of adult beef cattle and sheep in qualifying counties.

If 100% of eligible producers participate, the assistance will be less than $3 per head for cattle and approximately 50 cents per head for sheep, says Larry Gabriel, South Dakota secretary of agriculture.

"This assistance package is obviously not at the level we were hoping to see," Gabriel says. "The Governor and I will continue to push Congress to pass targeted and meaningful drought assistance."

The Livestock Assistance Grant Program is targeted to the foundation grazing herds. Only breeding animals are eligible. Feedlot and confinement animals are specifically excluded.

Livestock producers who routinely graze eligible beef cattle and sheep in the following counties may qualify for this assistance: Aurora, Beadle, Bennett, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Butte, Campbell, Charles Mix, Corson, Custer, Dewey, Douglas, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Gregory, Haakon, Hand, Harding, Hughes, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Lawrence, Lyman, McPherson, Meade, Mellette, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Sanborn, Shannon, Spink, Stanley, Sully, Todd, Tripp, Walworth, and Ziebach.

Application forms and supporting documents must be postmarked by Oct. 25 to qualify. After the application period closes, the number of eligible livestock will be tabulated and payments will be prorated on a per-head basis.

To find out more about program eligibility and conditions, you can pick up an application and supporting information at your local Cooperative Extension Service, Conservation District, or USDA Farm Service Agency offices or by contacting the South Dakota Department of Agriculture at 800-228-5254 (in SD only) or 605-773-3375. This information is also available at

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