Utah beef and dairy cow producers along with owners of sheep, goat, buffalo and beefalo who suffered losses due to drought are eligible for immediate compensation from the newly created livestock compensation program.
Carbon County livestock producers are encouraged to contact the local United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency office to sign up for the program.
Payments are expected as soon as the FSA can process the applications.
"This is exactly the kind of help Utah cattle and sheep producers have been seeking," stated Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food, Cary G. Peterson.
Utah is among seven states where the cash assistance will be made available statewide.
Qualifying counties in another 30 states are also eligible for the payments.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman recently announced that approximately $750 million is being made available for the compensation program.
The program is limited to livestock producers in counties that eceived primary disaster designation due to drought in 2001 and/or 2002.
Gov. Mike Leavitt and the federal agency announced earlier in the year that severe drought as well as a cricket and grasshopper infestation, high winds, hail and frost have qualified Utah farmers and ranchers for state and federal disaster designations.
Only qualified livestock owners may participate in the livestock compensation program.
Sign up was scheduled to start Oct. 1, with payments allocated soon thereafter.
"This program will provide immediate assistance to producers who need it the most," explained Veneman.
"This program will particularly help livestock producers who have very few risk management tools available to help during these difficult times," continued the federal official.
Cash assistance will be made available statewide in Utah, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Carolina, pointed out Veneman.
Assistance will also be available in specified counties in 30 other drought affected states including California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
The funding for the program will come from Section 32, a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has earmarked the equivalent of 30 percent of annual customs receipts to support the U.S. agriculture sector.
Payments will be based on standard feed consumption data for each eligible type of livestock. The rate is $18 per animal consuming unit, which is indexed against beef cattle.
Types of livestock adjusted by the factors include beef cows, $18.00/head; dairy cows, $31.50/head; stockers, $13.50/ head; buffalo and beefalo, $18.00/head; and sheep, $4.50/head.
In August, the federal agency authorized a $150 million feed assistance program to help cow-calf operators in Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. On Sept. 9, Veneman authorized emergency haying and grazing on conservation reserve program (CRP) acres nationally to provide relief for farmers and ranchers, which is valued at $100 million.
The USDA has provided some $54 million for the emergency conservation program to help producers rehabilitate farmlands damaged by natural disasters.
The federal crop insurance program provides indemnities for production and revenue losses; and the noninsured crop disaster assistance program, which provides financial assistance to eligible producers affected by natural disasters, is expected to provide $250 million.
For more information regarding the program or other drought and weather related information, residents may visit the USDA website at http://www.usda.gov.