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Livestock assistance grants available

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AUSTIN - The Texas Department of Agriculture was accepting applications Sept. 29 to Nov. 13 from eligible livestock producers impacted by drought who qualify for payments under the federally-funded Livestock Assistance Grant Program.

After Sept. 29, applications would be available on Texas Department of Agriculture's Web site at www.agr.state. tx.us; at all TDA offices; and at Texas Cooperative Extension and U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency county offices in the 216 eligible Texas counties.

Although local Cooperative Extension and FSA staff may have basic knowledge of the program, they have not received specific training on the program, so producers with any questions were encouraged to call TDA at 1-800-TELL-TDA (1-800-835-5832).

Applications must be postmarked by Nov. 13 and mailed to TDA headquarters in Austin addressed to: Livestock Assistance Grant Program, Texas Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 12847, Austin, TX 78711.
Incomplete applications and applications postmarked after Nov. 13 would not be considered.

To qualify for LAGP funds, a producer must meet all the following criteria:

• Must have suffered livestock forage production losses because of drought conditions from March 7 through Aug. 31, 2006 (eligibility period);

• Must have a livestock operation that suffered forage production losses in one or more of the 216 Texas counties classified as D3 Drought-Extreme or D4 Drought-Exceptional during the eligibility period; and

• Must have raised eligible livestock for commercial use as part of a farming operation during the eligibility period. Eligible livestock are adult beef cattle two years of age and older and sheep one year of age and older during the eligibility period. Livestock must have been owned by the producer for at least 30 days.

Forage production losses may include cost of lost forage, supplemental feeding costs, the costs incurred relocating livestock to new pastures, increased feed transportation costs and the cost of emergency water supplies.

Payments were to be limited to $10,000 per producer, and the amount of compensation may not exceed the amount of forage production losses.

Producers who apply in multiple states cannot receive more than $10,000 in total compensation, and the same losses cannot be claimed in more than one state.

For general partnerships or joint ventures, payments would not exceed $10,000 for each member of the partnership or joint venture.

Because of the anticipated number of applicants and the amount of available funds, payments would be limited and only cover partial forage production losses incurred by each producer.

Of the $50 million USDA block grant for livestock assistance being distributed to 20 states, Texas' share was $16.1 million.

Funds were to be paid on a per head basis. Per head payment rates would be determined by the total number of livestock claimed by all eligible applicants and would differ for cattle and sheep based on standard animal units. The per head payment rate would be determined after all applications are received and processed.

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Nelson Propane

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