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State help available to livestock producers because of the wet fall


North Dakota ranchers who had to buy cattle feed because of the wet fall weather will now have an opportunity to be reimbursed for some of those costs.

The state’s Emergency Commission is making $250,000 available for ranchers who lost feed and had to buy hay. It’s targeted toward transportation costs.

The money comes from a Bank of North Dakota line of credit.

State agriculture commissioner Doug Goehring said heavy rains followed by an early season snowstorm hit producers hard in the August-through-October period. He told the Commission the forgotten element is the livestock industry.

"The losses that had been endured, the stress on the infrastructure, the lost access to feed, silage that couldn't be harvested in a timely manner, roads that were impassable," Goehring said. "The feed that was put up was inaccessible to producers, or was lost."

Gov. Doug Burgum chairs the Commission. He said the extent of the harm to ranchers came home to him as he was touring parts of the state to check out the effects of heavy rain and heavy snow.

"This is right in the middle, as cattle producers were trying to do their weaning -- they couldn't get that done," Burgum said. "We saw a lot of hay bales frozen in the ground. When guys were able to pry some of them off, with the amount of moisture, we had reports of some people only able to get 6 or 8 bales on a truck before it was overweight. They weighed twice as much, because those bales are like a sponge."

To apply for the program, cattle producers should check out the state Agriculture Department’s Web site – www.nd.gov/ndda -- and see if they would be eligible for the cost-share.

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