FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, SEPT. 11, 2007
||Brian Long, director
NCDA&CS Public Affairs
(919) 733-4216, ext. 242
|Valeria L. Lee, president
Golden LEAF Foundation
NCDA&CS, Golden LEAF team up to help farmers
with cost of moving hay across North Carolina
$500,000 grant will fund cost-share program
RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler today announced two programs that will 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 $11,000 in donations from farm credit associations across the state.
“The drought has caused an estimated $80 million in losses of hay, pasture and forage 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 transportation 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 their transportation costs, not to exceed 50 percent.
Applications will be available starting Monday, Sept. 17. 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 the department anticipates mailing reimbursement checks to farmers in February.
Ag Partners Hay Relief Program
Golden Hay Relief is one of two programs that will help farmers with hay-transportation costs. Troxler announced that the department has established the Ag Partners Hay Relief Program to help farmers with the cost of moving hay purchased outside North Carolina.
The department has received a total of $11,000 in donations from Carolina Farm Credit, Cape Fear Farm Credit and East Carolina Farm Credit for the Ag Partners Hay Relief Program. The department hopes to secure additional funding for the program, Troxler said.
Beginning Wednesday (Sept. 12), 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 or go to the Ag Partners Web page, www.ncagr.com/HayAlert/AgPartners.htm.
Farmers can participate in both the Golden Hay and the Ag Partners relief programs.