Nebraska farmers and ranchers affected by the continuing drought have some options for assistance, says Bobbie Kris-Wickham, Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) assistant director.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released June 12 shows improvements, but areas particularly in the southwestern and central parts of Nebraska continue to show severe drought conditions.

Several programs offer help in planting cover crops for forage and to preserve soil, for livestock water needs and for forage losses.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has launched the Drought Recovery Initiative. It’s available for producers in counties that were designated as D3 (extreme) or D4 (exceptional) drought areas on the drought map as of May 20, 2014.

Interested producers should visit a local NRCS office before the June 20 sign-up deadline. The program is available in Keith, Perkins, Chase, Dundy, Hitchcock, Hayes, Lincoln, Frontier and Red Willow counties.

Eligible producers can apply for assistance to implement conservation practices that include cover crops; critical area planting; fencing; forage and biomass planting; pipeline, well and pumping stations for livestock water; range planting and more.

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has an ongoing signup. Producers should contact their local FSA offices to learn more about eligibility requirements. The program helps producers with livestock forage losses associated with drought conditions that were experienced beginning in 2012.

For more information, visit Drought Central.