Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced that the USDA would again provide surplus USDA stocks of non-fat dry milk to livestock producers in areas hardest hit by continuing drought.
"We are pleased to again offer this program that has provided needed relief to livestock producers in areas hit hardest by drought, " said Veneman. "This program will help livestock producers maintain their herds until pastures regain growth."
In 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. 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 initiative is in addition to emergency grazing that Veneman announced June 24 on Conservation Reserve Program Acres to provide relief for farmers and ranchers in qualifying areas. To help producers find hay supplies, USDA has a Web site for producers to list information concerning the need for hay or the availability of hay for sale. The "Hay Net" Web site is located at www.fsa.usda.gov/haynet/.
Approximately 95 counties in nine states currently meet the initial eligibility criteria for the NFDM program. The states with eligible counties are: Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.
To assure proper use of the NDM, new provisions to the 2004 initiative include:
New Restricted Use Sales Agreement, Form CCC-334 (Agreement), with feed dealers;
Denaturing of NDM by CCC before shipment to the feed dealers to prevent human consumption;
Selling of NDM to feed dealers under restricted use provisions for $275.00 per 41,500 pounds;
Permitting inspection of feed dealer inventory and related records to ensure compliance with 2004 NDM Livestock Feed Assistance Initiative provisions;
Disallowing/prohibiting the use of NDM as feed for dairy cattle, veal, poultry, swine, or fish; and
Prohibiting the exportation of the NDM outside of the United States.