Assistance For NC Farmers

December 31 is the application deadline for the Golden Hay Relief Program, which helps livestock producers pay for transportation of hay and alternative forages purchased in North Carolina.

The program is administered by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and funded by a $500,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.

It will help producers of cattle, sheep, goats and horses pay for having hay and alternative forages, such as cornstalks and soybean hay, trucked to their farms from inside North Carolina.

"Don't wait until the last minute to submit your application," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "Interest in this program has been strong, and we'll have a stack of applications to review before writing checks. The sooner we get through the stack, the sooner we can send out the reimbursements."

The reimbursement amount will be determined by dividing the $500,000 by the amount of money requested by farmers in approved applications. Farmers will be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of their transportation costs. Department personnel anticipate mailing reimbursement checks to farmers in late February.

Farmers can download an application and eligibility criteria from the NCDA&CS Hay Alert Web site, .

Or they can request an application by calling toll free 1-866-506-6222 weekdays.

The Hay Alert site and hotline also help farmers find hay and transportation.