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Agricultural News

Clay Burtrum Talks Drought Needs for Cattle Producers

Mon, 26 Sep 2022 14:57:13 CDT

Clay Burtrum Talks Drought Needs for Cattle Producers As the next meeting of the Emergency Drought Commission will take place this Friday, KC Sheperd, Farm Director, caught up with Vice President of Operations at Farm Data Services and cattle producer, Clay Burtrum, talking about what immediate needs are during this time for cattle producers as far as drought concerns go.

Two months ago, Burtrum said, the biggest concerns on cattle producers’ minds because of the drought were hay and feed availability. Today, he added, the big concern is water for their cattle.

Burtrum recommends sourcing your hay from someone reliable because there are scams right now. For Burtrum, he said hay is going anywhere from $200 per ton for failed crops such as milo, corn, soybeans, and even cotton. Burtrum said he has seen grass hay going for around $170 a bale.

“On the trucking, if you check with your county offices at FSA, and if you are in the drought areas of a D3 or greater, they have the ELAP program where they help pay for that trucking,” Burtrum said. “So, check with your county FSA offices and make sure you get all the documentation where you can sign up to get that trucking assistance paid for.”

Burtrum said during the Emergency Drought Commission meeting, a big part of the conversation was how to best use the state funds to aid producers during these dry times. Popular ideas included a focus on well drilling, solar pumps, and long-term water resource issues.

“I’ve talked to many producers across the state as I travel, and some of them are already hauling water,” Burtrum said.

If we have a hard winter, Burtrum said, many producers are going to face solid frozen ponds because of how low the water levels are.

With feed being difficult to get a hold of lately, Burtrum talked about nutrient benefits in certain failed crops.

“That’s one thing about these failed crops that you can look at,” Burtrum said. “The resource that I got was some failed soybean hay. Very high in protein and TDN if you look at those.”

Using failed crops could be a good alternative, Burtrum said, if someone is open to working with a nutritionist to implement those into their rations to help supplement some of the feed cost throughout the winter.

“Unfortunately, some of us are having to cull pretty hard,” Burtrum said. “I am already preg-checking, we have already moved forward in early weaning just to try to get some stress relief off of these pastures.

Right now, Burtrum said FSA (Farm Service Agency) and NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) don’t have a lot of programs like they did back in the 2011 and 2012 drought.

“Back in the ’11 and ’12, I was able to get some resources to buy some tanks and buy a water wagon to haul water and do some different things,” Burtrum said. “I have been working with FSA for many years, and NRCS, and I have been on the phone with them for the past few months asking them about pond cleanout, water tanks, helping me install some of those, and unfortunately there are no programs now. There is just not enough money to go around in those programs and as we approach the 2023 Farm Bill, there won’t be any new program money available. They will have to rob it from another program. That is not a knock-on FSA or NRCS agencies- there is just not enough money to go around right now.”

With the 3 million dollars available to be dispersed to aid producers during this time through the Emergency Drought Commission, Burtrum said it is important to be flexible and to give producers the liberty to do what they need.

“Don’t tie our hands, don’t make the paperwork cumbersome, make it easy, in and out for that producer to get this money,” Burtrum said.

Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Clay Burtrum and KC Sheperd talking about immediate needs for producers during this time of drought.


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