Livestock assistance grant guidelines

Guidelines have been announced for the South Dakota Livestock Assistance Grant Program, which provides funds to aid livestock producers suffering forage losses due to the 2006 drought.

The assistance is targeted to the foundation grazing herds, so only breeding animals are eligible. Feedlot and confinement animals are specifically excluded.

Livestock producers that routinely graze eligible beef cattle and sheep may qualify for this assistance. Counties eligible for this program include Haakon, Jackson, Jones, Pennington Stanley and Ziebach.

Application forms and supporting documents must be postmarked by Wednesday, October 25, to qualify. After the application period closes, the number of eligible livestock will be tabulated and payments will be prorated on a per-head basis.

This program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, which dictates the program's general rules. The program is administered by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, which developed the details with input solicited from agriculture organizations across the state. The South Dakota department will implement the program.

South Dakota will receive approximately $4.3 million dollars to be allocated to livestock producers in qualifying counties. This amount was calculated by USDA, based on the number of adult beef cattle and sheep in the qualifying counties of our state. Based on the data, if 100 percent of eligible producers participate in the program, the assistance will be less than three dollars per head for cattle and approximately 50 cents per head for sheep.

"This assistance package is obviously not at the level we were hoping to see," said South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Larry Gabriel. "The Governor and I will continue to push Congress to pass meaningful drought assistance."

For applications and supporting information, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service, Conservation District, or USDA Farm Service Agency offices or contact the South Dakota Department of Agriculture at 800-228-5254. This is also available at www.state.sd.us/doa/department/LAGP.htm