Ranchers who need help feeding livestock because of losses connected with wildfire or drought may benefit from federal and state programs.
Okanogan County ranchers who lost pasture when severe drought coincided with the normal grazing season are eligible for financial assistance through the federal Livestock Forage Program.
Payments in the forage program are 60 percent of the monthly feed cost, to offset the expense of purchasing feed or forage. Applications are due to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency by Jan. 30.
Other programs, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, are also available to assist eligible farmers and ranchers. For more information or to apply, contact Stu Skidmore, acting county executive director of the Farm Service Agency, at (509) 422-2750, or visit http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
A separate program has been established to help Okanogan County livestock producers who lost hay and pasture in the 2015 wildfires. The Emergency Livestock Feed Program will support livestock producers affected by wildfire with the purchase and transport of hay.
Funding can cover up to 75 percent of the cost of emergency feed, with a maximum of $10,000 per funding cycle.
The program, being implemented by the Okanogan Conservation District, is supported by funding from the Washington State Conservation Commission and the Washington Department of Ecology.
An emergency feed advisory committee will process applications, determine eligibility and equitably distribute awards as funding allows. Funding is limited, so early applications will have a better chance.
For more information or to apply, contact the conservation district at (509) 422-0855, or visit www.okanogancd.org/fires.