Rancher-members of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association say funding announced Tuesday by USDA to aid farmers and ranchers is a good start toward providing much-needed disaster and drought relief.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said USDA will make available $780 million in assistance to help farmers and ranchers manage drought and other weather-related production challenges. Johanns announced a new $50 million program for livestock producers - the Livestock Assistance Grant Program - which will provide funds to states in block grant form.
"For those struggling to cope with drought conditions, [Tuesday]'s announcement is a good sign that our nation's policymakers are sensitive to the challenges being faced by our ag producers," says NCBA's Manager of Legislative Affairs Jason Jordan. "NCBA has been communicating for some time the importance of these issues to our leaders in Washington, and more and more we are seeing them working to help cattle producers cope with the difficulties cattlemen are facing out on the land every day."
States will distribute grants to livestock producers in counties that were designated as D3 or D4 on the Drought Monitor anytime between March 7 and August 31, 2006. A list of eligibility criteria and eligible counties can be found at www.usda.gov by clicking on the Drought Spotlight.