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Federal Money Available To Oklahoma Livestock Producers Hit Hard By Drought

Federal Money Available To Oklahoma Livestock Producers Hit Hard By Drought

By Xcaret Nuñez

Drought conditions across Oklahoma are the worst the state has seen since the summers of 2011 and 2012, and the dry, hot weather is especially hitting farmers and ranchers hard.

The brutal heat has taken a toll on hay production and has also dried up many pastures that cattle graze on during this time of year. Low feed supplies and rising costs have pushed livestock producers to make some tough decisions, like selling or culling cattle, or feeding winter hay supply early.

“[My] pasture's grass is probably half of what it normally is,” said breed stock producer Jordan Cook. “That means we've started feeding hay in July, and normally we don't start feeding hay until October or November, just depending on the year.”

LFP provides financial assistance to eligible producers who’ve experienced drought during the usual grazing season that resulted in the loss of livestock. The program only pays for a portion of drought-related damage, and the size of payments is determined by the cost of feed and the U.S. Drought Monitor level.

CROP

According to the FSA, eligible livestock includes alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo/bison, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, reindeer and sheep. Meanwhile, eligible producers must:

  • Own, cash or share lease, or be a contract grower of covered livestock during the 60 calendar days before the beginning date of a qualifying drought or fire.
  • Provide pasture land or grazing land for covered livestock, including cash-rented pasture land or grazing land as of the date of the qualifying drought or fire that is either:

    • Physically located in a county affected by a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period for the county. 
    • Rangeland managed by a federal agency for which the otherwise eligible livestock producer is prohibited by the federal agency from grazing the normally permitted livestock because of a qualifying fire.

  • Certify that they have suffered a grazing loss because of a qualifying drought or fire; and
  • Timely file an acreage report for all grazing land for which a grazing loss is being claimed.

Another challenge Cook said she’s facing because of the drought is a shortage of available water for her cattle.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program also provides eligible producers with financial assistance for certain feed losses not covered by LFP. ELAP helps cover above normal costs associated with hauling water to livestock, transporting feed to livestock or transporting livestock to grazing areas.

Feeding toxicities like prussic acid poisoning associated with Sudan grasses and sorghum has also been a concern for producers, including Cook. She said she’s lost eight of her cattle so far this summer from likely grazing on Johnsongrass. Livestock owners are encouraged to reach out to their local extension office before turning cattle onto a new pasture or if they suspect toxicity.

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