Amarillo, Texas - Ranchers and farmers can now sign up for the USDA's Disaster Assistance Programs.
The 2014 farm bill has been restored allowing relief funds to those producers who have been affected by the drought -- sign ups started this week and will last through the fall.
Here in the texas panhandle many producers have been affected by the drought that's lasted for the past 3 years... Going on 4. In February the 2014 farm bill was passed restoring the United States Department of Agriculture Disaster Assistance Programs and bringing relief to local and area farmers and ranchers.
"You know these guys need hope, i mean we're still in a drought. We're starting the forth year of a drought and I think any time they can take advantage of the program, it will be great." said Dede Jones, Extension Risk Management Specialist
The county executive director for the Farm Service Agency says there are three main programs being administered around the Texas panhandle
"That's the livestock forage program, the livestock indemnity program and the emergency livestock and honeybee and farm raised catfish program"
"But the big one, the one i think will affect a lot of ranchers is called the livestock disaster forage program, it's going to help these guys get some disaster payments for grazing losses and so that deals with pasture or wheat grazing of some kind of loss they had related to drought conditions."
Since October of 2011 drought conditions have caused ranchers to liquidate vast numbers of their herd simply because there's not enough grazing areas.
With over 100-thousand cows in the panhandle area most ranchers would qualify for relief funds.
"Any kind of program that will help these guys stay in business and hold on until it starts raining again is huge." said Dede Jones
Ranchers need to provide a cattle count 60 days prior to the drought and they could receive money for every mother cow they have.