Beebe funds new grants for drought-ridden ranchers

Friday, August 17, 2012

Gov. Mike Beebe on Wednesday announced that he has set aside $2 million from the Governor's Disaster Fund to help Arkansas ranchers during the recent persistent drought conditions.

The Livestock Assistance Grant Program will help cattle, sheep and goat producers, many of whom are finding it difficult to locate, grow or afford hay and other forage for their animals.

The program will be administered by the Arkansas Agriculture Department, and payments will be made on a per-head basis for qualifying livestock producers who apply in the next two weeks.

Applications must be filed online, hand-delivered, or postmarked by Wednesday, Aug. 29. This program is not first-come, first-served.

Applications will be available through the Arkansas Agriculture Department (www.aad.ar.gov or 501-683-4851), University of Arkansas's Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service county offices (www.uaex.edu), the Arkansas Cattleman's Association (www.arbeef.org), the Agricultural Council of Arkansas (www.agcouncil.net), Farm Service Agency county offices, Natural Resource Conservation Service district offices, Conservation District offices and Arkansas Farm Bureau county offices (www.arfb.com).

Arkansas Farm Bureau applauded Gov. Mike Beebe's release of $2 million for an emergency livestock program, saying the state-wide drought has pushed livestock producers into a crisis situation.

"Any support for our livestock producers is meaningful," said Randy Veach, president of Arkansas Farm Bureau. "This is a year on par with no other, with more than 50 percent of our state in exceptional drought conditions. This will provide some immediate relief for those who have been struggling, and they need some help right now.

"For the second consecutive year, forage production in our state has been severely limited because of drought. That has put our livestock producers in a position of having to reduce the size of their herds, or pay extremely high prices for feedstuffs."

Livestock producers have two weeks to sign up for the program, and can pick up the application at their county Farm Bureau office, plus other outlets.

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