Extreme Heat Claims 4,000 Cattle - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Extreme Heat Claims 4,000 Cattle

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The toll from extreme heat continues to mount for cattle producers. With temperatures in the 90s and the heat index in triple figures last month, cattle producers like Dean Klute went to great lengths, but it wasn't enough. 

At the time, Klute told NTV, "We did everything we could, watering pens down, watering cattle, adding tanks, but they just plain overheated and the big cattle took the blunt of it."

The Farm Service Agency now estimates close to 4,000 head of cattle died in the extreme heat across 23 counties in central and eastern Nebraska. Help could come in the form of a disaster declaration. 

"That would make producers that lost livestock eligible for emergency loans through the FSA which is a low interest loan," said Tim Reimer with the Farm Service Agency.

Producers may also benefit from a program just announced by the USDA. Details of the Livestock Indemnity Program are not yet known, but it would cover losses in extreme heat. 

Reimer said, "It will come into play with the loss because of the heat, because it does cover that."

Producers say it's something their insurance doesn't cover. They're protected against theft and lightning but not heat. So any help from the USDA is more than producers have now. 

"It's going to have a pretty significant affect on certain producers," Reimer said.

That could include producers like Dean Klute who lost dozens of cattle in what he called at the
time a catastrophic loss. 

There are two USDA programs in play. One is the loan interest loan program, the other was announced Tuesday, but details will be announced later. 

Reporter's Notes by Steve White:
The onset of extreme heat followed a cool spell. Producers said the cattle had difficulty acclimating to the heat.

The Nebraska Cattlemen issued a statement about the Livestock Indemnity Program announced by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The aid is especially welcome," Nebraska Cattlemen President Todd Schroeder said, "because cattlemen, who lost cattle in the extreme weather condition, have suffered the loss in an ongoing period of unprofitability."

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