Farmers assess drought disaster’s toll

Among the assistance services are programs for livestock operations whose grazing has been affected by disasters and an aid program covering losses not covered by federal insurance.
The program, based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration drought rating, evaluated each farmer based on the number, type and size of cows and the grazing area, farmer Mike Dee said.
Smith, who runs the XTRA Ranch, a cattle operation on 2,500 acres with his wife Erin, and other cattle farmers who typically rely on hay and rye grass to feed their livestock over the winter began feeding their herds hay earlier than usual as the drought dried up pastures.
They have to have grass," Dee said.
The issue is compounded because farmers must look for quality hay, which meets the nutritional needs of the herd.
While selling may mitigate the cost of feeding a herd, it potentially still ends with a loss.
Dee, Runge and Smith said calves were not worth as much last fall because there were a lot on the market.
Smith chose to sell market-ready calves and continued as if it were a normal year, he said, even though he operated at a loss.
Row crops Crop insurance provides some security year to year for row crop producers.
In addition to cattle, Dee grows corn and soybeans on about 3,500 acres.

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