USDA announced a $780-million national drought aid package, which includes a $50-million Livestock Assistance Grant Program. States will receive block grants for distribution to livestock producers in counties designated as D3 or D4 on the Drought Monitor anytime between March 7 and Aug. 31. A list of eligibility criteria and eligible counties can be found at www.usda.gov.

Nearly $700 million of the package will be the result of moving up counter-cyclical payments, with another $30 million in unused conservation funds. USDA Secretary Mike Johanns said, “Today's actions emphasize USDA's commitment to use every resource available to help farmers and ranchers who are impacted by drought.”