DC, July 19, 2004 (ENS): For the second year
the U.S. Department of Agriculture is counteracting
extreme drought conditions by providing surplus USDA
stocks of nonfat dry milk to livestock producers.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said Friday that the
program will help livestock producers "maintain
their herds until pastures regain growth," but
she warned the dry milk is not for human consumption
in any case.
In April 2003, Veneman established a national interagency
drought council to monitor ongoing drought conditions
and the impact on agriculture producers. The council
also has worked to find ways to use existing programs
and develop new initiatives to provide assistance to
farmers and ranchers.
One of the programs developed by the council began
last year and utilized surplus stocks of non-fat dry
milk, which are not destined for human consumption.
About 95 counties in nine states currently meet the
initial eligibility criteria for the nonfat dry milk
program. The states with eligible counties are: Arizona,
Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon,
Utah and Wyoming.
To date, USDA has provided almost 400 million pounds
of nonfat dry milk in 10 states and 85 counties to supplement
the feed for 2.3 million head of beef cattle, sheep,
goats and bison.
The non-fat dry milk program is in addition to emergency
grazing on Conservation Reserve Program Acres that Veneman
announced June 24 to provide relief for farmers and
ranchers in qualifying areas.
To help producers find hay supplies, USDA has a website
for producers to list information about the need for
hay or the availability of hay for sale. The Hay Net
website is located at: www.fsa.usda.gov/haynet/.
Information about other programs available can be located
The administration has enhanced the risk management
tools that farmers have at their disposal. Last year,
the Risk Management Agency provided more than $3.2 billion
in indemnities and provided coverage for more than 75
percent of total cropland acreage.
The current drought is lowering reservoir levels and
reducing irrigation supplies across the Wets, the USDA