The deadline to apply for the state's Livestock Assistance Grant Program has been extended to Nov. 3, says Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
"We wanted to give our farmers and ranchers some additional time since fall is so busy with harvest and preparations for winter," Ibach says. "It's important that cattle and sheep producers have plenty of opportunity to access these drought assistance funds.
"From the input we've already received, this money is needed. Many producers have reported that they pulled livestock off pastures early due to the poor grazing conditions, were forced to cull animals, and in some cases had to find alternative sources of water," according to Ibach. "We know these grant dollars do not compare to the drought-related expenses producers have incurred, but I think strong interest in the program will help us send a message to Congressional leadership about the severity of the drought in Nebraska."
The funding for the Livestock Assistance Grant Program is part of a USD (USDA) drought assistance package announced in August. Nebraska has been allocated $3.6 million based on USDA estimates of the number of beef cattle and sheep in 39 Nebraska counties severely affected by the drought.
Beef cattle and sheep producers who meet program criteria can apply for the Livestock Assistance Grant Program by self-certifying their herd numbers and drought-related expenses to NDA. Applicants must complete a two-page form. Once the application period closes on Nov. 3, the number of eligible livestock certified to NDA will be calculated and the $3.6 million will be prorated on a per-head basis.
NDA created a detailed question-and-answer document to help farmers and ranchers as they fill out the application. The document, the application form and other materials can be found on-line at www.droughtcentral.org under "Agriculture Drought Disaster Program Opportunities." Producers with questions also can call NDA toll-free at 800-422-6692.
Other entities that may have application information include local Farm Service Agency and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension offices, banks and feed stores. NDA will not be sending producers notification of program availability in the mail.