As one of the worst droughts in 50 years ravages the Midwest, livestock producers are left without a safety net, wondering how they will feed their herds because government aid is tied up in farm bill politics.

Farmers growing crops have insurance to ward off the financial failure of their season, but cattle and pork producers don’t have such assistance. Emergency drought relief from the government — written into the 2008 Farm Bill — expired last year.

Stacey McCallister, a dairy producer in Mountain Grove, MO, has about 60 days of feed left for his herd of 200 cattle. He has already lost two cows to drought conditions and worries that even if he sells some animals, they will have lost so much weight that they won’t bring a good price per pound.

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