Livestock producers in counties that have been declared primary disaster regions are eligible for $752 million in drought assistance.

Producers of cattle, sheep and buffalo can qualify for the Livestock Compensation Program. Sign up will begin Oct. 1 at your local Farm Service Agency office and payments will be made soon thereafter.

“This program will provide immediate assistance to producers who need it the most,” said Ann Veneman, secretary of agriculture. “The Bush Administration continues to use every available tool to provide disaster assistance to America’s farmers and ranchers who have been struck by severe drought conditions. This program will particularly help livestock producers who have very few risk management tools available to help during these difficult times.”

The cash assistance will be available to producers statewide in Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina and Utah. Assistance will be available in specified counties in 30 other drought affected states including California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

The funding for the Livestock Compensation Program will come from Section 32, a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has earmarked the equivalent of 30 percent of annual customs receipts to support the U.S. agriculture sector. Payments will be based on standard feed consumption data for each eligible type of livestock. The payment rate is $18 per animal consuming unit, which is indexed against beef cattle. Types of livestock adjusted by these factors are:

  • Beef Cows $18.00/head
  • Dairy Cows $31.50/head
  • Stockers $13.50/head
  • Buffalo and Beefalo $18.00/head
  • Sheep $4.50/head

This program is in addition to other programs available to eligible producers that to date total $1.3 billion.

On Aug. 12, Secretary Veneman authorized a $150 million feed assistance program to help cow-calf operators in Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. On Sept. 9, Veneman authorized emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres nationally to provide relief for farmers and ranchers, which is valued at $100 million. USDA has provided some $54 million for the Emergency Conservation Program to help producers rehabilitate farmlands damaged by natural disasters. The Federal Crop Insurance program provides indemnities for production and revenue losses; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to eligible producers affected by natural disasters, is expected to provide $250 million. The Emergency Loan Program makes farmers and ranchers immediately eligible for USDA low interest emergency (EM) loans in agricultural disaster areas.

“The Bush Administration continues to provide every available resource within USDA’s authority to assist America’s farm sector with drought assistance programs,” said Veneman. “This decision will provide livestock producers, who are the most in need of assistance, with immediate relief.”

For more information about the Livestock Compensation Program, go to: Or, to view a Q&A on the Livestock Compensation Program go to: