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nfu - major disaster unfolding

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beethoven

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http://www.nfu.ca/story/major-disaster-unfolding

Major Disaster Unfolding

Beachburg, ON – Dave Mackay, President of the Renfrew County National Farmers Union, reports the present drought situation is serious and almost to the point of becoming critical for area farmers. Farmers had already expressed concern two weeks ago, however the situation has escalated to very critical during the last week with no relief in the long range weather forecast. It appears the areas most affected are Renfrew County and including Lanark, Hastings and Ottawa Carleton Counties.

Mackay went on to add, “This is a one in 50 year drought. The last one recorded was in 1965 and it may not have been as severe so early in the growing season. Lack of rain, very hot days and spurts of gusting winds have played havoc with corn crops and including soybeans, hemp, small grains and hay. In addition, it appears most farmers are experiencing very dry pastures with some beef farmers having to resort to already feeding hay and it being only the middle of July.

Second cut hay fields are being cut with so little hay in the windrows that it is barely visible. Some farmers are worried what may happen to the re-growth on these fields. However, they appeared to have no other option at this time.

Local beef and hog farmers and some cash croppers were barely getting into a recovery mode after about eight years of below cost of production returns following the mad cow situation. Now those same farmers are faced with another disaster. In addition to feed supplies being affected, wells and watering holes are going dry. Only a percentage of farmers carry hay and pasture insurance. Tapping into that insurance program never covers all the losses involved.

“In summary, we want to advise our farmers that the NFU is taking action to advise our agricultural contacts of the seriousness of this exceptional dry weather affecting our family farms”, concluded Mackay.

- 30 -

For more information: Dave Mackay 613-582-7379, Renfrew County Local National Farmers Union
 
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Anonymous

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RSS Some SD Ranchers Sell Cattle as Drought Worsens

Northern Ag Network posted on July 16, 2012 10:49 :: 70 Views




(AP) Belle Fourche - Some South Dakota ranchers are starting to sell off cattle due to worsening drought conditions that some producers say the state hasn't seen in decades.

Pastures are drying up, hay and feed are running low and the lack of rain is turning the water bad in stock ponds. Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange owner Dean Strong told the Black Hills Pioneer that one recent sale that typically would have seen 500 cattle had more than 2,000 head. Other auction owners have similar stories.

"There's quite a few cattle moving right now," said Justin Tupper, owner of the St. Onge Livestock Co. "Normally this time of year we'll sell 300 to 500 a week, and now we're doing 1,000 to 1,500 a week."


Bruce Blair, who ranches near Tilford in western South Dakota, has sold off some of his herd. His summer pastures have been depleted and he's had to move cattle onto winter pastures _ something he doesn't normally do until October, he said.

"I'm not sure even the droughts of 2000 through 2008 were quite as bad as this is _ at least for me, anyway," he told the Pioneer.

Some farmers are comparing this year's conditions to those of the late 1980s and early `90s, which caused billions of dollars in crop losses across the Midwest. Phil Hofer, who farms in southeastern South Dakota, told KELO-TV that in his three decades of farming he has experienced a drought like this only once, in 1991.

"You have good years and you have bad years and this one is not going to be so good," he said. "If this plays out like it looks, food prices are going to go up. There is just no way around it. Because with that limited supply of corn, something is going to have to give."

The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that most of South Dakota is in moderate or severe drought, and the rest is abnormally dry. Politicians and farm groups this month have urged the federal government to open Conservation Reserve Program acres to haying and grazing to help ranchers. Normally, landowners are paid to idle CRP land to prevent erosion and create wildlife habitat.

The National Weather Service forecast for the week doesn't show much promise for relief from the heat. A heat advisory was in effect Monday for the central and eastern parts of the state, with high temperatures in some areas expected to climb to 110 degrees. Highs the rest of the week were forecast in the 80s, 90s and 100s. There is a chance of thunderstorms most days.

Strong said the weather isn't leaving ranches with many options for their cattle.

"They can either sell them, buy feed and keep them at home or they could take them somewhere where there's feed, but that's a long ways away _ maybe east (of the Missouri) River or in North Dakota," he said.
 

burnt

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Drove about 30 miles west toward Lake Huron today and the crop condition is appalling. The soys are still struggling along but there are a lot of corn fields that are half gone, or more.

Pasture fields are as brown as sand and hay is 10 -15 cents per pound.

Our son was working out toward Ottawa (6 hrs. east of us) last week and reported much the same conditions out that way.

Yesterday late afternoon our other son who lives 20 miles east of us said they got 2" in about 1/2 hour. Didn't have much chance to soak in. Just a narrow band of thunderstorms going through here and there. One guy gets 2" and his neighbor gets 2 drops. Literally.

It's as bad as I've seen in my 35 years of farming. Gonna be lots of silage to cut if it doesn't rain this week as the corn is trying to tassel now. Our corn is over my head but will it make a cob?
 
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Climate agency says US drought biggest since 1956


By Maqsood Hussain - The News Tribe

Jul 17th, 2012



New York: Cattle ponds are drying up in Arkansas, the pool is closed in Warrenton, Missouri and Illinois is in danger of losing its corn crop.



Even the mighty Mississippi River is feeling low amid what the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday is the largest drought since the 1950s.



The center said about 55% of the country was in at least moderate short-term drought in June for the first time since December 1956, when 58% of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought.


The hot, dry weather in June, which ranked as the third-driest month nationally in at least 118 years, according to the center, made the problem worse. The portion of the country suffering from severe to extreme short-term drought dramatically expanded in June, up to nearly 33% from 23% the month before.



Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called it a “natural disaster of epic proportions.”



“We’ve never see a drought like this and we have to make sure we do something about it,” he said, calling on Congress to expedite passage of the farm bill. Quinn said seven more counties will be designated Monday as disaster areas, in addition to 26 already on the list, and farmers can apply for federal relief funds.



In Arkansas — where the National Drought Mitigation Center reported that ranchers are having to haul water for cattle because ponds have dried out and wells can’t keep up with demands — 83-year-old retired farmer Don Hudson said this is about the worst he’s ever seen it.



“It’s very brown right now, ain’t no grass at all,” he said. “We’re still feeding hay because the cows aren’t even going out to graze.”



In all, 71% of the country was classified as abnormally dry or worse as of June, the climate agency said, citing data from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska.



That’s double one year ago, according to agency statistics.



The worst-hit areas are the southern to central Rockies, the central Plains states and the Ohio Valley, the National Climatic Data Center said.



The hot, dry weather has taken its toll on agriculture, with 38% of the corn planted in the leading 18-corn producing states reported in poor or very poor conditions this week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The numbers are an increase of eight percentage points over last week and dramatically higher than last year at this time when it was just 11%.



In Arkansas, where conditions are the driest they’ve been since 1925, according to one widely used measure of short-term drought, ranchers have been selling off cattle to avoid having to feed and water them, said Arkansas Department of Agriculture spokesman Zach Taylor.



“It’s bad,” he said. “The week of July 4, we had 17,000 head of cattle sold. That may be a record.”



With parts of the country in an epic drought, water levels were also running low in the Mississippi River south of New Orleans, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That was allowing saltwater to begin working its way upriver, which could threaten some water supplies.



It’s not unprecedented, and there’s no current threat to water supplies, but officials are prepared to start building an underwater barrier to block the denser saltwater from moving further upstream, Corps spokesman Ricky Boyett said Friday. The Corps last had to do that in 1999, he said.



There’s no way of telling how much the current drought will cost U.S. businesses, farmers and consumers.



Alex Carter, who farms 3,500 acres of rice and soybean in southern Missouri, told CNN he’s been running electric irrigation twice as much as most years because he’s only gotten two inches of rain since March.



Farmers have plenty of water for irrigation from wells, but the expense is a killer. Typically wells run for 12 hours, but they are running continually now, draining power and business accounts.



“A lot of guys have to go back to their banker to ask for more money” to cover added pumping costs, he said. But they have to keep the pumps going.



“That’s the only thing that saves us,”



But drought conditions last summer in the Southern Plains and Southwest alone resulted in an estimated $12 billion in losses, according to the National Climatic Data Center.



The 1956 drought brought serious economic repercussions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes in a report on historic weather conditions.



“Crop yields in some areas dropped as much as 50%,” according to the agency. “Excessive temperatures and low rainfall scorched grasslands typically used for grazing. With grass scarce, hay prices became too costly, forcing some ranchers to feed their cattle a mixture of prickly pear cactus and molasses.”



The current drought has forced disaster declarations in 26 states and a spate of emergency conservation orders, including in Warrenton, where the city ordered residents to stop watering their lawns, shut down commercial car washes and banned and just about every other non-essential use of water. That includes closing the city swimming pool amid one of the hottest summers on record.



“It’s pretty sucky, to put it bluntly,” said Dana Moore, who lives just a few blocks from the pool...



more

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/07/17/climate-agency-says-us-drought-biggest-since-1956/#.UAWA3vUbuR8



Coming soon to a grocery store near you: Drought of 2012


By Kim Wehmer - Howell County News (MO)

July 16, 2012



Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard more than a few people talk about the weather.



Specifically, I’ve heard some say that the current drought – nearing the severity of the Dust Bowl days and the 1950s droughts – makes them feel sorry for farmers. And some mistakenly assume the drought doesn’t impact them directly.



That’s a great sentiment, but I’ve got a two-word response – not yet.



Take another look at the map on the front page of the paper, which shows the counties across the United States that have been declared a disaster due to th is year’s drought.



That doesn’t include much of Missouri yet.



Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon asked for a primary federal drought declaration for all of Missouri’s 114 counties. Missouri’s U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill also are pushing for a quick approval of that request.



According to a joint letter sent from the two senators to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, “An assessment by the state Farm Service Agency (FSA) has found that all counties in Missouri meet the disaster threshold of having losses of at least 30 percent of the estimated yield of a single crop or where individual farmers sustain losses of more than 30 percent.



“Agriculture is a primary driver of Missouri’s economy, and it is important that we provide the support our producers need as they suffer significant losses to crops, pasture, and livestock as a result of the record-breaking heat and low precipitation. A disaster designation would give eligible producers in Missouri the additional support they need by allowing them to qualify for FSA emergency loans, emergency grazing and haying, and other financial assistance.”



Howell and Shannon counties have been included in the current disaster area as “contiguous” disaster counties. Texas County, however, isn’t included yet, though many parts of it are burning up. Ponds are dry and cattle are being sold. Not to drum up sympathy for Texas County, but it’s a good example that there may be many, many other counties on this map where farmers are in deep trouble.



Last year saw farmers in Texas selling whole herds of cattle due to the drought, a pattern that is being repeated here this year. That fact is evidenced by cattle sales at the Ozark Regional Stockyards over the past few weeks. This week last year saw only 617 head sold at the weekly bull and cow sale. This past week, the stockyards held an extra cow sale due to the drought. Combined with their regular weekly sale, 4,608 head were sold.



Now, let’s back up a bit to compare to this drought to the most historic ones of the past – the 1930s and 1950s. I’m not an expert and wouldn’t try to compare this year to those year, but the National Weather Service already has.



In fact, some news reports last week were that this year’s drought is the worst agricultural disaster ever declared in the United States.



Whether you realize it or not, agriculture is still a huge driver of the economy in this part of the state. Recent statistics show that the economic impact of beef cattle in Howell County is more than $56 million per year; in Texas County, it’s $53 million per year. Howell and Texas counties are numbers 4 and 5 in the number of beef cattle produced in Missouri. Missouri ranks third in the nation for beef production behind Texas and Oklahoma. Looking at the map on the front page, guess what? The majority of counties in those states already have been declared disasters due to drought.



And, of course, there are many, many types of agriculture in our area and all depend on the weather.



But let’s get back to how all this impacts you...



more

http://www.howellcountynews.com/Stories/edit_20120716_165816_26278_.php

Spent the day doing a 100+mile pickup/4 wheeler circle of pasture- some pasture we are looking to move into- and some wheat fields...

While we could use some rain as the grass and spring wheat are being stressed- most the pastures north still don't look too bad-- and even the waterholes in some of the drier pastures I want to move some cows into this week have fair amounts of water (lots of grass).......But 90-100 degree temps are drying things fast.....

The creek at the homestead which flooded 3 weeks ago has lots of water-
http://5barx.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=5912&p=62841#p62841

and the grandson got about as many leechs as he caught of northerns today- altho last week he and his buddy caught 100's.......

As we came back we saw some winter wheat fields that have been cut- and others right next to them that look beautiful about ready to go... (Haven't heard any yield "lies" yet-- but this year they should be good )

Our irrigated durum fields look great- except for the long straw and heavy heads are causing some lodging...

We are sitting right on the fenceline- could be a boom year with both grass and crops...

But darn sure not in as bad a shape as many other areas... I've received several calls from folks in the southern part of the State looking for hay- some have none- some say they have 1/10th of normal.... But all my regulars say they sold out weeks ago- at about $95 Ton.... Directing them toward some of the big hay producers just north of the border that have gotten humongous amounts of moisture...

Locally with me- I'm hoping on the heavy straw this year giving us enough hay to make up for the weevil/grasshopper deficiency we are having with feed....
 

Faster horses

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I was in SD last weekend. I heard that Lemmon and Buffalo SD got a
bad hailstorm. :cry:

Those cows that sold at Belle Fource Livestock were mostly pairs.
They sold well, and price depended on age of cow. Most of them
went east, I heard, but the sale stayed strong to the end.

We are friends with the State Brand Inspector at St. Onge and he
says a lot of cattle are coming to town and he doesn't see much let up
soon. Butcher cow prices are staying pretty good, too, I guess.

The Black Hills are drier than normal, but for some reason, it never
looks quite as bad there. Belle Fourche got dumped on last night
(Monday night) but I don't know how much they actually got. Here at
the ranch in SE Montana, we got a tenth of an inch.

I thought the country south of Baker to Alzada looked pretty good,
considering. I think they have caught some rains in through there.
Sure nice to have that Highway 323 to drive on.

I can hardly wait for fall......or for this year to be over..........good luck
everyone in getting some moisture.
 

beethoven

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best wishes navigating the weather patterns! excellent comments. we keep having to cut lawn and it looks like second cut will be healthy. and some neighbours, their fields look a bad way, their weeds are abundant.

http://www.businessinsider.com/solar-geoengineering-experiment-attempts-to-cool-the-earth-2012-7

Scientists Will Muck With The Atmosphere In An Attempt To Cool The Earth
Martin Lukacs, The Guardian | Jul. 17, 2012, 10:08 AM


Two Harvard engineers are planning to spray thousands of tonnes of sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to artificially cool the planet, using a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

The field experiment in solar geoengineering aims to ultimately create a technology to replicate the observed effects of volcanoes that spew sulphates into the stratosphere, using sulphate aerosols to bounce sunlight back to space and decrease the temperature of the Earth.

David Keith, one of the investigators, has argued that solar geoengineering could be an inexpensive method to slow down global warming, but other scientists warn that it could have unpredictable, disastrous consequences for the Earth's weather systems and food supplies. Environmental groups fear that the push to make geoengineering a "plan B" for climate change will undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Keith, who manages a multimillion dollar geoengineering research fund provided by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, previously commissioned a study by a US aerospace company that made the case for the feasibility of large-scale deployment of solar geoengineering technologies.

His US experiment, conducted with American James Anderson, will take place within a year and involve the release of tens or hundreds of kilograms of particles to measure the impacts on ozone chemistry, and to test ways to make sulphate aerosols the appropriate size. Since it is impossible to simulate the complexity of the stratosphere in a laboratory, Keith says the experiment will provide an opportunity to improve models of how the ozone layer could be altered by much larger-scale sulphate spraying.

"The objective is not to alter the climate, but simply to probe the processes at a micro scale," said Keith. "The direct risk is very small."

While the experiment may not harm the climate, environmental groups say that the global environmental risks of solar geoengineering have been amply identified through modelling and the study of the impacts of sulphuric dust emitted by volcanoes.

"Impacts include the potential for further damage to the ozone layer, and disruption of rainfall, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions – potentially threatening the food supplies of billions of people," said Pat Mooney, executive director of the Canadian-based technology watchdog ETC Group. "It will do nothing to decrease levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere or halt ocean acidification. And solar geoengineering is likely to increase the risk of climate-related international conflict – given that the modelling to date shows it poses greater risks to the global south."

A scientific study published last month concluded that solar radiation management could decrease rainfall by 15% in areas of North America and northern Eurasia and by more than 20% in central South America.

Last autumn, a British field test of a balloon-and-hosepipe device that would have pumped water into the sky generated controversy. The government-funded project – Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (Spice) – was cancelled after a row over patents and a public outcry by global NGOs, some of whom argued the project was a "Trojan horse" that would open the door to full-scale deployment of the technology.

Keith said he opposed Spice from the outset because it would not have improved knowledge of the risks or effectiveness of solar geoengineering, unlike his own experiment.

"I salute the British government for getting out and trying something," he said. "But I wish they'd had a better process, because those opposed to any such experiments will see it as a victory and try to stop other experiments as well."

The Guardian understands that Keith is planning to use the Gates-backed fund to organise a meeting to study the lessons of Spice.
 

burnt

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Interesting experiment. But somehow it makes me nervous when we start messing with stuff like that.

We got a wee sprinkle of rain last evening but it didn't even register in the gauge. Felt good to sit in though! That was all we got out of a forecast for severe thunderstorms.
 
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Anonymous

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Big Muddy rancher said:
sprinkling here right now.

We had thundershowers roll thru last evening...Picked up .15 down on the river- and it looks like the north place picked up more with the radar showing between .25 and .50- but haven't made it up there yet today to check the gauge...
 
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Anonymous

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More Counties Get Emergency CRP Haying/Grazing

Northern Ag Network posted on July 20, 2012 12:24 :: 66 Views


The following is a press release from the Montana Farm Service Agency:

(Bozeman, Mont., - July 20) - Montana Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director Dick Deschamps announced today that 13 more Montana counties have been authorized for emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres due to drought. This week's approval brings the total of Montana counties to 21, as of mid-morning on Friday, July 20.

Additional counties approved this week for emergency CRP grazing and haying are the following:

■Carbon
■Carter
■Cascade
■Fallon
■Golden Valley
■Judith Basin
■Meagher
■Musselshell
■Park
■Powder River
■Stillwater
■Sweet Grass
■Wheatland
Last week, Montana FSA announced the following counties were approved:

■Beaverhead
■Big Horn
■Broadwater
■Custer
■Jefferson
■Madison
■Rosebud
■Yellowstone
The CRP emergency haying and grazing authorization for 2012 is effective immediately. Haying must be completed by Aug. 31, 2012. Grazing livestock must be removed from the CRP acres by September 30, 2012. Producers who wish to hay or graze their CRP contract acres must sign up in their local FSA office prior to any haying or grazing can occur.

"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying and grazing of CRP must request written approval from the Farm Service Agency before haying or grazing eligible acreage," Deschamps said. "There will be a 10 percent annual payment reduction for CRP acres used for haying and grazing under these emergency provisions."

To take advantage of the emergency haying and grazing provisions, authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. CRP participants are not allowed to charge livestock producers more than the 10 percent annual payment reduction for the haying or grazing privileges.

Emergency haying and grazing of CRP is different than the "emergency use" of CRP land that was announced on July 9 by Montana FSA for Rosebud and Powder River counties. The “emergency use” authorization, effective until Aug. 3, is for livestock producers who lost pasture or fences due to fires to help protect livestock.

Last week, Montana FSA announced that Rosebud and Powder River counties have been approved for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) for Wildfires. Those interested in this cost-share program available to help remove debris, restore fences and conservation structures, should contact the Rosebud or Powder River county offices.

Montana FSA encourages producers seeking hay or pasture or who have hay or pasture available to utilize the Montana Department of Agriculture's Hay Hotline at http://services.agr.mt.gov/Hay_List/.

Additional information is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mt and www.usda.gov/drought.



Source: Montana FSA
Posted by Haylie Shipp


All sounds good- except its kind of a catch-22-- as the areas they opened the haying/grazing in are the droughted out areas where little or nothing grew (including in the CRP)... Some northern parts of the state that received early moisture have some pretty decent CRP fields- and could supply folks around the state with quite a bit of hay- but they have not been opened...And with the 100+ temps we have been having- they are drying up fast and the grass is losing its value as hay...
But that keeps some of the hay salesmen and hunters happy- so I guess each have their perspective...
 
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Anonymous

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Emergency CRP Haying/Grazing Goes Widespread

Northern Ag Network posted on July 23, 2012 12:44 :: 41 Views


The following is a press release from the USDA:

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2012 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new flexibility and assistance in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's major conservation programs to get much-needed help to livestock producers as the most wide-spread drought in seven decades intensifies in the United States. Vilsack also announced plans to encourage crop insurance companies to provide a short grace period for farmers on unpaid insurance premiums, as some farming families can be expected to struggle to make ends meet at the close of the crop year.

"President Obama and I are committed to getting help to producers as soon as possible and sustaining the success of America's rural communities through these difficult times," said Vilsack. "Beginning today, USDA will open opportunities for haying and grazing on lands enrolled in conservation programs while providing additional financial and technical assistance to help landowners through this drought. And we will deliver greater peace of mind to farmers dealing with this worsening drought by encouraging crop insurance companies to work with farmers through this challenging period. As severe weather and natural disasters continue to threaten the livelihoods of thousands of our farming families, we want you and your communities to know that USDA stands with you."



The assistance announced uses the Secretary of Agriculture's existing authority to help create and encourage flexibility within four USDA programs: the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and the Federal Crop Insurance Program.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
To assist farmers and ranchers affected by drought, Vilsack is using his discretionary authority to allow additional acres under CRP to be used for haying or grazing under emergency conditions. CRP is a voluntary program that provides producers annual rental payments on their land in exchange for planting resource conserving crops on cropland to help prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat and improve the environment. CRP acres can already be used for emergency haying and grazing during natural disasters to provide much needed feed to livestock. Given the widespread nature of this drought, forage for livestock is already substantially reduced. The action today will allow lands that are not yet classified as "under severe drought" but that are "abnormally dry" to be used for haying and grazing. This will increase available forage for livestock. Haying and grazing will only be allowed following the local primary nesting season, which has already passed in most areas. Especially sensitive lands such as wetlands, stream buffers and rare habitats will not be eligible.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
To assist farmers and ranchers affected by drought, Vilsack is using his discretionary authority to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers by allowing them to modify current EQIP contracts to allow for prescribed grazing, livestock watering facilities, water conservation and other conservation activities to address drought conditions. EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers on their land to address natural resource concerns on agricultural and forest land. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will work closely with producers to modify existing EQIP contracts to ensure successful implementation of planned conservation practices. Where conservation activities have failed because of drought, NRCS will look for opportunities to work with farmers and ranchers to re-apply those activities. In the short term, funding will be targeted towards hardest hit drought areas.

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
To assist farmers and ranchers affected by drought, Vilsack is using his discretionary authority to authorize haying and grazing of WRP easement areas in drought-affected areas where such haying and grazing is consistent with conservation of wildlife habitat and wetlands. WRP is a voluntary conservation easement program that provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers to restore and protect valuable wetland resources on their property. For producers with land currently enrolled in WRP, NRCS has expedited its Compatible Use Authorization (CUA) process to allow for haying and grazing. The compatible use authorization process offers NRCS and affected producers with the management flexibility to address short-term resource conditions in a manner that promotes both the health of the land and the viability of the overall farming operation.

Federal Crop Insurance Program
To help producers who may have cash flow problems due to natural disasters, USDA will encourage crop insurance companies to voluntarily forego charging interest on unpaid crop insurance premiums for an extra 30 days, to November 1, 2012, for spring crops. Policy holders who are unable to pay their premiums in a timely manner accrue an interest penalty of 1.25 percent per month until payment is made. In an attempt to help producers through this difficult time, Vilsack sent a letter to crop insurance companies asking them to voluntarily defer the accrual of any interest on unpaid spring crop premiums by producers until November. In turn, to assist the crop insurance companies, USDA will not require crop insurance companies to pay uncollected producer premiums until one month later.

Thus far in 2012, USDA has designated 1,297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. Increasingly hot and dry conditions from California to Delaware have damaged or slowed the maturation of crops such as corn and soybeans, as well as pasture- and range-land. Vilsack has instructed USDA subcabinet leaders to travel to affected areas to augment ongoing assistance from state-level USDA staff and provide guidance on the department's existing disaster resources. To deliver assistance to those who need it most, the Secretary recently reduced the interest rate for emergency loans from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent, while lowering the reduction in the annual rental payment to producers on CRP acres used for emergency haying or grazing from 25 percent to 10 percent. Vilsack has also simplified the Secretarial disaster designation process and reduced the time it takes to designate counties affected by disasters by 40 percent.

USDA agencies have been working for weeks with state and local officials, as well as individuals, businesses, farmers and ranchers, as they begin the process of helping to get people back on their feet. USDA offers a variety of resources for states and individuals affected by the recent disasters. For additional information and updates about USDA's efforts, please visit www.usda.gov/drought.

The Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, has worked tirelessly to strengthen rural America, maintain a strong farm safety net, and create opportunities for America's farmers and ranchers. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its most productive periods in American history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers. A strong farm safety net is important to sustain the success of American agriculture. USDA's crop insurance program currently insures 264 million acres, 1.14 million policies, and $110 billion worth of liability on about 500,000 farms. In response to tighter financial markets, USDA has expanded the availability of farm credit, helping struggling farmers refinance loans. In the past 3 years, USDA provided 103,000 loans to family farmers totaling $14.6 billion. Over 50 percent of the loans went to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.



Source: USDA
Posted by Haylie Shipp
 

4Diamond

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Oldtimer said:
Climate agency says US drought biggest since 1956


By Maqsood Hussain - The News Tribe

Jul 17th, 2012



New York: Cattle ponds are drying up in Arkansas, the pool is closed in Warrenton, Missouri and Illinois is in danger of losing its corn crop.



Even the mighty Mississippi River is feeling low amid what the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday is the largest drought since the 1950s.



The center said about 55% of the country was in at least moderate short-term drought in June for the first time since December 1956, when 58% of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought.


The hot, dry weather in June, which ranked as the third-driest month nationally in at least 118 years, according to the center, made the problem worse. The portion of the country suffering from severe to extreme short-term drought dramatically expanded in June, up to nearly 33% from 23% the month before.



Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called it a “natural disaster of epic proportions.”



“We’ve never see a drought like this and we have to make sure we do something about it,” he said, calling on Congress to expedite passage of the farm bill. Quinn said seven more counties will be designated Monday as disaster areas, in addition to 26 already on the list, and farmers can apply for federal relief funds.



In Arkansas — where the National Drought Mitigation Center reported that ranchers are having to haul water for cattle because ponds have dried out and wells can’t keep up with demands — 83-year-old retired farmer Don Hudson said this is about the worst he’s ever seen it.



“It’s very brown right now, ain’t no grass at all,” he said. “We’re still feeding hay because the cows aren’t even going out to graze.”



In all, 71% of the country was classified as abnormally dry or worse as of June, the climate agency said, citing data from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska.



That’s double one year ago, according to agency statistics.



The worst-hit areas are the southern to central Rockies, the central Plains states and the Ohio Valley, the National Climatic Data Center said.



The hot, dry weather has taken its toll on agriculture, with 38% of the corn planted in the leading 18-corn producing states reported in poor or very poor conditions this week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The numbers are an increase of eight percentage points over last week and dramatically higher than last year at this time when it was just 11%.



In Arkansas, where conditions are the driest they’ve been since 1925, according to one widely used measure of short-term drought, ranchers have been selling off cattle to avoid having to feed and water them, said Arkansas Department of Agriculture spokesman Zach Taylor.



“It’s bad,” he said. “The week of July 4, we had 17,000 head of cattle sold. That may be a record.”



With parts of the country in an epic drought, water levels were also running low in the Mississippi River south of New Orleans, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That was allowing saltwater to begin working its way upriver, which could threaten some water supplies.



It’s not unprecedented, and there’s no current threat to water supplies, but officials are prepared to start building an underwater barrier to block the denser saltwater from moving further upstream, Corps spokesman Ricky Boyett said Friday. The Corps last had to do that in 1999, he said.



There’s no way of telling how much the current drought will cost U.S. businesses, farmers and consumers.



Alex Carter, who farms 3,500 acres of rice and soybean in southern Missouri, told CNN he’s been running electric irrigation twice as much as most years because he’s only gotten two inches of rain since March.



Farmers have plenty of water for irrigation from wells, but the expense is a killer. Typically wells run for 12 hours, but they are running continually now, draining power and business accounts.



“A lot of guys have to go back to their banker to ask for more money” to cover added pumping costs, he said. But they have to keep the pumps going.



“That’s the only thing that saves us,”



But drought conditions last summer in the Southern Plains and Southwest alone resulted in an estimated $12 billion in losses, according to the National Climatic Data Center.



The 1956 drought brought serious economic repercussions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes in a report on historic weather conditions.



“Crop yields in some areas dropped as much as 50%,” according to the agency. “Excessive temperatures and low rainfall scorched grasslands typically used for grazing. With grass scarce, hay prices became too costly, forcing some ranchers to feed their cattle a mixture of prickly pear cactus and molasses.”



The current drought has forced disaster declarations in 26 states and a spate of emergency conservation orders, including in Warrenton, where the city ordered residents to stop watering their lawns, shut down commercial car washes and banned and just about every other non-essential use of water. That includes closing the city swimming pool amid one of the hottest summers on record.



“It’s pretty sucky, to put it bluntly,” said Dana Moore, who lives just a few blocks from the pool...



more

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/07/17/climate-agency-says-us-drought-biggest-since-1956/#.UAWA3vUbuR8



Coming soon to a grocery store near you: Drought of 2012


By Kim Wehmer - Howell County News (MO)

July 16, 2012



Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard more than a few people talk about the weather.



Specifically, I’ve heard some say that the current drought – nearing the severity of the Dust Bowl days and the 1950s droughts – makes them feel sorry for farmers. And some mistakenly assume the drought doesn’t impact them directly.



That’s a great sentiment, but I’ve got a two-word response – not yet.



Take another look at the map on the front page of the paper, which shows the counties across the United States that have been declared a disaster due to th is year’s drought.



That doesn’t include much of Missouri yet.



Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon asked for a primary federal drought declaration for all of Missouri’s 114 counties. Missouri’s U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill also are pushing for a quick approval of that request.



According to a joint letter sent from the two senators to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, “An assessment by the state Farm Service Agency (FSA) has found that all counties in Missouri meet the disaster threshold of having losses of at least 30 percent of the estimated yield of a single crop or where individual farmers sustain losses of more than 30 percent.



“Agriculture is a primary driver of Missouri’s economy, and it is important that we provide the support our producers need as they suffer significant losses to crops, pasture, and livestock as a result of the record-breaking heat and low precipitation. A disaster designation would give eligible producers in Missouri the additional support they need by allowing them to qualify for FSA emergency loans, emergency grazing and haying, and other financial assistance.”



Howell and Shannon counties have been included in the current disaster area as “contiguous” disaster counties. Texas County, however, isn’t included yet, though many parts of it are burning up. Ponds are dry and cattle are being sold. Not to drum up sympathy for Texas County, but it’s a good example that there may be many, many other counties on this map where farmers are in deep trouble.



Last year saw farmers in Texas selling whole herds of cattle due to the drought, a pattern that is being repeated here this year. That fact is evidenced by cattle sales at the Ozark Regional Stockyards over the past few weeks. This week last year saw only 617 head sold at the weekly bull and cow sale. This past week, the stockyards held an extra cow sale due to the drought. Combined with their regular weekly sale, 4,608 head were sold.



Now, let’s back up a bit to compare to this drought to the most historic ones of the past – the 1930s and 1950s. I’m not an expert and wouldn’t try to compare this year to those year, but the National Weather Service already has.



In fact, some news reports last week were that this year’s drought is the worst agricultural disaster ever declared in the United States.



Whether you realize it or not, agriculture is still a huge driver of the economy in this part of the state. Recent statistics show that the economic impact of beef cattle in Howell County is more than $56 million per year; in Texas County, it’s $53 million per year. Howell and Texas counties are numbers 4 and 5 in the number of beef cattle produced in Missouri. Missouri ranks third in the nation for beef production behind Texas and Oklahoma. Looking at the map on the front page, guess what? The majority of counties in those states already have been declared disasters due to drought.



And, of course, there are many, many types of agriculture in our area and all depend on the weather.



But let’s get back to how all this impacts you...



more

http://www.howellcountynews.com/Stories/edit_20120716_165816_26278_.php

Spent the day doing a 100+mile pickup/4 wheeler circle of pasture- some pasture we are looking to move into- and some wheat fields...

While we could use some rain as the grass and spring wheat are being stressed- most the pastures north still don't look too bad-- and even the waterholes in some of the drier pastures I want to move some cows into this week have fair amounts of water (lots of grass).......But 90-100 degree temps are drying things fast.....

The creek at the homestead which flooded 3 weeks ago has lots of water-
http://5barx.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=5912&p=62841#p62841

and the grandson got about as many leechs as he caught of northerns today- altho last week he and his buddy caught 100's.......

As we came back we saw some winter wheat fields that have been cut- and others right next to them that look beautiful about ready to go... (Haven't heard any yield "lies" yet-- but this year they should be good )

Our irrigated durum fields look great- except for the long straw and heavy heads are causing some lodging...

We are sitting right on the fenceline- could be a boom year with both grass and crops...

But darn sure not in as bad a shape as many other areas... I've received several calls from folks in the southern part of the State looking for hay- some have none- some say they have 1/10th of normal.... But all my regulars say they sold out weeks ago- at about $95 Ton.... Directing them toward some of the big hay producers just north of the border that have gotten humongous amounts of moisture...

Locally with me- I'm hoping on the heavy straw this year giving us enough hay to make up for the weevil/grasshopper deficiency we are having with feed....

We market all our cattle at the Ozarks Regional Stockyards and I can tell you first hand there is nothing in the sw part of the state. The numbers of cows that barn is running through is amazing. Cattle are leaving this area at alarming rates and the scary thing is many of the guys selling out are older and many never come back. 4x5 hay bale can fetch $100 or better c in the right spot and pond water is non existent. Corn and beans are being baled and trees being cut for feed.

My dad was around in 1954 when the worst drought in history here struck. He says this ranks right there with it.

I say if we survive it, it will make us stronger and meaner!
 
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Anonymous

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I did have a chance today to talk to a Canadian hay/cattle producer friend who only lives a few miles north of the border-- who said there is pretty good amounts of hay just across the line-- but many are waiting to even decide if they will sell it until they see what they will end up with for their own operations...And they are in areas like ours that has good pasture....

BUT like he said- with the past 10 years of US government involvement- and the restrictions put on by the the USA PATRIOT Act (commonly known as the Patriot Act)-- (an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001 ) that the restrictions/rules for trying to get hay/feed across the line has made the costs extreme...
:(

He did tell me that just south of the border- he heard that some in the Scobey area have sold hay to as far south as Texas/NB- and for as much as a couple of hundred dollars a ton...

Both he and I agreed that in a small area of the world here our pastures, hay, and crops are looking a lot better than in many years- but we darn sure could use some rain...

Forecast for tonite is for thunderstorms with 70% chance for moisture... Ma Nature would be perfect if she would give us an inch or so of rain (altho the river bottom wheat is lodging) - and no hail/wind.....

The winterwheat/early spring wheat crops being combined now are running 40-70 bushel an acre in a county that averages 25-35.... :D :D
 

Faster horses

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That's odd, there has been lots of Canadian hay sold in this area in the
past and for a reasonable price. Nothing was mentioned about the
Patriot Act or having a hard time getting hay across the border. And this
was all after 2001. We've even bought some of it...
 

gcreekrch

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I wonder if R-CALF members are permitted to purchase Canadian hay for fear of losing their membership or punishment by the executive?

Nah, they wouldn't feed this second rate crap to their cattle if it was free............... :wink:
 
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I couldn't answer your questions as I've never boughten hay in Canada-- but what he was saying pretty well fits what some US folks were saying earlier this spring when some Canadians just north of the border were trying to unload their excess last years hay at $30 T or OBO to make room for this years crop.. Those that have boughten there said by the time you leap thru the rings and loops of paperwork and regulations to get it across the border any more- it may be too costly...

But most these folks also think you are nuts to pay anywhere like $200 a ton for hay.... That its easier and cheaper to send cows to feed- than haul feed to cows.... I have even heard some say at $95 Ton like some of our local hay sold for in the last few weeks - you are money ahead to sell down some of the cows- take the tax breaks- and restock when the grass comes back...

Anyway- according to him, there is fairly good sized amounts of hay just north of the border....

Good news- early seeded spring wheat and winter wheat is running 40-80 bushel an acre (in an area of about a 20-30 long term average)-- and we are having another thunder storm go thru that has dropped about .6 of rain so far tonight... :)
 

per

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Plenty of hay went south across the border last year from Southern Alberta without any patriotic problems. Gcreek makes a good point. It might a good idea to make sure the recipient isn't an r-calf member. Won't want them to be conflicted feeding Canadian hay to US cattle. It wouldn't really be a product of USA.

I still follow the rule of not feeding out of a drought. It is such a sad state of affairs when the weather doesn't cooperate for such a long period of time.
 

per

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Come to think of it a friend within sight of the US boarder told me last week his complete first cut was going south. He never mentioned any hoops to jump through.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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We have trucks going by here everyday heading south with hay. I have never seen this much going south before. Big squares and rounds. A fellow over south of Coronach sold his whole crop to Kansas, and the fellow from Westby MT has a machine to convert round bales to big square and most of them go to New Mexico for the dairies.Another fellow was sending 200 big squares to his daughter in Texas. Brauns from Beechy were sending hay down to his son in Texas. So lots of hay going south wether it is as easy as before I don't know but it hasn't stopped.
I agree that is doesn't make much sense to feed cows high priced hay. I do know some of this is for race horses and cutting horses.games for the rich. :D
 
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Big Muddy rancher said:
We have trucks going by here everyday heading south with hay. I have never seen this much going south before. Big squares and rounds. A fellow over south of Coronach sold his whole crop to Kansas, and the fellow from Westby MT has a machine to convert round bales to big square and most of them go to New Mexico for the dairies.Another fellow was sending 200 big squares to his daughter in Texas. Brauns from Beechy were sending hay down to his son in Texas. So lots of hay going south wether it is as easy as before I don't know but it hasn't stopped.
I agree that is doesn't make much sense to feed cows high priced hay. I do know some of this is for race horses and cutting horses.games for the rich. :D

Yep thats what the Canadians that were down for the funeral told us yesterday... There is hay going south every day- but its not like it was in years back for ease or prices as all the rules and regs have made it much more costly...

I had given their numbers to several MT folks who had called needing hay- and when I asked if they had called or bought hay- they said when most figure out the prices/cost of getting it across the line and to where they need it- they decide it isn't worth it..
 

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