San Luis Obispo County

Cattle Ranchers Getting Federal Drought Relief

Disaster relief part of $100 million aid package from President Obama.

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Central Coast cattle ranchers are expected to apply for federal disaster relief to help them survive the economic impact of the drought.

It may not be enough to keep some ranchers from getting out of what has become a very expensive business.

Time is running out for Central Coast cattle ranchers caught between a rock and a hard, dry place due to the drought.

"I can't afford to keep feeding these cattle", says cattle rancher Janet Burback, "I will have to get out of the business otherwise, I can't continue to do it, can't afford to."

It's a similar story for cattle ranchers across the state as the effects of the drought settle in.

Cattle ranchers are having to spend thousands of dollars more every month to feed their herds that are running out of areas to graze.

On his recent visit to the Central Valley, President Obama pledged $100 million in emergency disaster relief for distressed cattle ranchers.

"We're accelerating $100 million in funds from the Farm Bill that I signed last week to help ranchers", President Obama told reporters last Friday, "for example if their fields have dried up this will help them feed their livestock."

Janet Burback says she'll apply for whatever federal aid she can get but adds it may only delay the inevitable.

"We figure we can get through about May, and then that's it", Burback says, "if we don't get the hay in the fields to feed these cattle that's when we're going to have to have another sit down and decide that we're going out of the cattle business."

Cattle and calves is the third most valuable agricultural product in San Luis Obispo County worth nearly $70 million in 2012.




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