NCDA&CS, Golden LEAF & corporations team to help farmers with cost of moving hay
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler recently announced two programs to help drought-stricken livestock producers with the cost of transporting hay to their farms.
The Golden Hay Relief Program is made possible by a $500,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.
The Ag Partners Hay Relief Program is funded by $12,500 in donations from fcorporations across North Carolina.
“The drought has caused an estimated $80 million in losses of hay, pasture and forage alone in our state. We are working feverishly to cope with this hay emergency and prevent a mass exodus of livestock farmers,” Troxler said. “Corn and soybean growers have shown an eagerness to help livestock producers. These cost-share programs will make it more cost-effective for crop farmers to help livestock farmers keep their animals alive through the winter.”
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will use the Golden LEAF grant to help livestock producers pay for transportation of hay and alternative feeds, such as cornstalks and soybean hay, purchased in North Carolina and trucked to their farms.
“The Golden LEAF Foundation will provide emergency transportation assistance to move an estimated 300,000 bales of forage from Eastern N.C. growers to livestock owners around the state so that these farms can stay in business,” said Rick Holder, chairman of Golden LEAF’s Board of Directors. “The project will benefit growers with a market for crops badly damaged from the drought and provide opportunities for N.C. trucking operations.”
Valeria Lee, president of Golden LEAF, said: “The project’s urgency stems from the threat of North Carolina losing additional farming operations and jobs if livestock operations close. Typically livestock operators grow their own feed, but this year, due to extreme drought conditions, farmers must transport hay and alternative feeds from Eastern North Carolina to sustain herds through the winter months.”
To use the program, livestock producers must submit an application to the NCDA&CS. The reimbursement amount will be determined by dividing the $500,000 by the amount of money requested by farmers in approved applications. Farmers will be reimbursed for a percentage of the transportation costs, not to exceed 50 percent.
Applications are being accepted now. Farmers can download an application and eligibility criteria from the NCDA&CS Hay Alert Web site, www.ncagr.com/HayAlert. They also can request an application by calling toll free 1-866-506-6222 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Hay Alert site and hotline also help farmers find hay and transportation.
Application deadline is Dec. 31. Troxler said NCDA&CS anticipates mailing reimbursement checks in February.
Ag Partners Hay Relief Program
Ag Partners Hay Relief will help farmers with the cost of moving hay purchased outside North Carolina.
NCDA&CS has received a total of $12,500 in donations from Carolina Farm Credit, Cape Fear Farm Credit and East Carolina Farm Credit, North Carolina Electric Membership Cooperatives and Agribusiness Insurance Agency Inc. of Thomasville for the Ag Partners Hay Relief Program. The department hopes to secure additional funding for the program, Troxler said.
Applications are being taken now, and the cost-share program will reimburse farmers 50 cents per mile, up to $300, for a load of hay moved from out of state. Reimbursements will be made on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funding is available.
For information about this program, call the Hay Alert toll-free hotline at 1-866-506-6222.
Farmers can participate in both the Golden Hay and the Ag Partners relief programs.