Applications are due Aug. 31 for a hay lottery that will bring some relief to cattle producers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, as they struggle to find feed supplies in the midst of a summer-long drought and wildfire recovery.

In order to participate, producers must be located in a D2, D3 or D4 designated county; own at least 25 animal unit equivalents of beef or dairy cattle, bison or sheep; and have a third-party verification contact person, such as a veterinarian or lending institution partner. Find the online application here. If you have problems filling in the form, or are located in South Dakota or Montana, call (844) 642-4752 for more information.

 

 

“Our farmers and ranchers are so grateful for what they are doing,” says Doug Goehring, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioners during a recent AgriTalk interview. “One semi load of hay may not seem like it’s a whole lot but its meaningful to these guys who think that people remember them, recognize what they are going through and it’s just a little token of appreciation for all they have to endure.” 

The effort is being organized by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and North Dakota State University, but much of those hay supplies are coming from Ag Community Relief, a Michigan-based relief organization that shipped hay to Texas and Kansas after the wildfires in March and is now working with producers in the Upper Midwest deal with summer-long drought.

“This program, when we put it together, Ag Community Relief called me back and said we love it,” Goehring says. “We like what you are doing with the lottery concept and especially how we structured it with two age categories—35 and under and 36 and over.”

“With such a large area affected, a program like this hay lottery really made sense. It's just too hard to pick and choose who receives what hay we can bring. This program will give everyone a little hope and let them know that farmers across America are thinking of them,” said Matt Schaller, president of Ag Community Relief.

Producers in the area have already reduced herds, and utilized lands in the Conservation Reserve Program for emergency grazing. Read more coverage from Drovers.

 

How to Get in Contact

Each state will conduct their own drawings. If producers are selected in the lottery, they will be notified the beginning of September. Farm Rescue are also offering to help transport hay supplies to those states if producers are unable to make transportation arrangements.

Producers willing to donate hay or trucking services can contact the Drought Hotline at (701) 425-8454. Supplies for the lottery will be collected at the NDSU campus in Fargo, N.D.

“We’ve had our drought hotline setup years ago,” Goehring says, “but this time, those looking for hay, pasture, dry lot or trucking—or those [services] to provide to sign up to our hotline also. Plus we did an online drought map where those people are at.”

If more donations are provided after that date, more drawings will occur.

 

Click, drag and zoom on the map above to see counties in need of hay supplies, hay hauler contact information and suppliers with hay for sale. The map also highlights current drought areas and current radar conditions. To see the map full screen, click here. 
Source: North Dakota Department of Agriculture

 

“Donations have been pouring in from throughout Montana to help folks affected by both drought and fire. These people are the unsung heroes of the disaster response and a reminder of how the worst of times can bring out the best in people,” said Ben Thomas, Montana Department of Agriculture Director. “We are proud and grateful to join with Ag Community Relief and our friends in North and South Dakota to get more resources to those affected.”

Producers can also contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office for an application for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to assist with grazing deferment, fencing, water facility development, critical area plantings and cover crops. State and local application deadlines differ, contact your local office for information.