Hereford cattleAs this year’s record drought continues in the Western U.S., Southwest and Northern Plains, livestock producers are being faced with the decision of either feeding their stock with short supplies or liquidating their herds. Western producers impacted by drought are reporting harvest yield reductions, increased local feed costs, longer distances traveled to purchase feed and forage, reduced water deliveries and needing to remove animals from rangeland due to insufficient forage.

As a resource to producers during the difficult season, USDA launched a new online tool to help ranchers document and estimate potential relief payments that can be used to offset feed transportation costs. USDA will reimburse eligible ranchers 60% of feed transportation costs incurred above a normal year and up to 90% for eligible, underserved farmers. The new ELAP (Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish) tool can be found here.

Read more drought impacts on Western U.S. livestock producers.