Help with feed transportation costs coming to drought impacted ranchers

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(AP Photo/Haven Daley)

(KXAN) — The U. S. Department of Agriculture is expanding assistance to ranchers impacted by drought in the West and Great Plains.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program, known as ELAP, already existed, but on Wednesday Sept. 8, the USDA added additional benefits. Now, ranchers impacted by drought will be able to get assistance covering the cost of transporting feed for grazing livestock.

“The duration and intensity of current drought conditions are merciless, and the impacts of this summer’s drought will be felt by producers for months to come,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “[It’s] to provide relief as ranchers make fall and winter herd management decisions.” 

The ELAP program had already covered the cost of transporting water during drought, but this expansion covers the transportation of feed in places “where grazing and hay resources have been depleted.”

ELAP defines the eligible places as the following:

  • Severe Drought intensity (D2) for eight consecutive weeks as indicated by the U.S. Drought Monitor
  • Extreme Drought intensity (D3) or greater
  • USDA has determined a shortage of local or regional feed availability

The specifics of the program mean that ranchers who qualify can get between 60% and 90% reimbursement on feed transportation costs above what they would normally have spent. A specific formula is used to calculate the specific reimbursement for each rancher.

The ELAP assistance applies to feed transportation expenses in 2021.

To apply, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency will update this site later in September.

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