The federal government is offering drought relief to ranchers in most Western Washington counties — after the U.S. Drought Monitor reached “severe drought” for eight consecutive weeks coinciding with grazing season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency will make Livestock Forage Program payments to eligible ranchers in King, Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap, Mason, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific and Skamania counties.
For drought, payments are equal to 60 percent of the monthly feed cost. Ranchers in affected counties are eligible for three months of financial assistance, which could increase if the drought continues.
Farmers also can apply for emergency loans to restore or replace essential property, pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize a farming operation, or refinance certain debts.
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Additional programs and information can be found at disaster.fsa.usda.gov.