MINOT, N.D. - Many North Dakota farmers and ranchers had a rough year in 2019, but a new program may relieve some of their burdens.
Many ranchers found their feed unusable after excessive moisture destroyed their supply. If they apply for the program in time, they could get help to recover a portion of the cost to transport feed they purchased to replace what was damaged.
Last fall, poor weather conditions contributed to a dismal harvest for wheat, potatoes, corn, and other crops.
"Certainly mother nature stretched her imagination last year and 2019 will be one that all in agriculture to remember," said Julie Ellingson, Executive Vice President of North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.
Unusual moisture also ruined the hay and straw ranchers use to feed livestock.
"The gathering of hay, the making of silage creating a feed accessibility issue for many livestock producers in North Dakota," said Ellingson.
To help offset some of that, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture launched the Feed Transportation Cost-Share Program. The $250,000 state-funded plan gives back a portion of the cost ranchers use to transport hay.
"It could be 30 percent, could be 40 percent of the transportation cost, could be 50 percent or more. It’s all dependent on in the end what we have for request," said North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.
Ranchers with at least 25 breeding livestock that have verifiable feed losses are eligible to apply. Transportation costs for replacement feed must have occurred between Sept. 30th through the end of January. Commissioner Goehring says they have not received many applications since announcing the program in December.
“A handful. I know people are trying to assess here in January what their needs are to get into spring. And I think that's going to be indicative of how many more requests we get. Most people are holding off till they get to the end of January,” said Goehring.
Paper applications must be postmarked by Feb 10. To find out more information on eligibility, and how to apply visit the ND Department of Agriculture website. If you are a rancher in need of feed or a trucker able to haul feed contact the Department's hay hotline at 701-425-8454.