LITTLE ROCK, AR - The drought means food for cows is expensive, and that means food for you will be expensive. The explanation as to why starts with livestock producers.
"We're pretty much without any forage to feed the cattle," explained Matt Simon of Simon Bros. Dairy in Conway. "Having to import all of that from as far as out of state. Puts a pretty hefty drain on the pocket book."
The next part of the equation is the state government. Friday Secretary of Agriculture Butch Calhoun told a group of livestock producers in Conway how they could apply for part of a $2 million Livestock Assistance Grant Program the state announced Wednesday.
"We've had people that have built up herds of bulls and momma cows, and they're having to sell some of them," said Calhoun, "and that's just like selling the farm."
Here's another issue raised by Calhoun Friday: he said when livestock producers take a hit because of a drought, they aren't the only ones.
"You're gonna see a big increase at the grocery store when this is all said and done," he said.
The truth is -- it gets even worse than that. Each livestock producer can get up to $5000 through the grant program depending on how much livestock they have but most will get much less. The Simons expect to receive less than $1000 given their 400 cows -- and that's only about five-percent of their losses.
"There's no way for them to address it to the extent that I can say I'm getting me enough to really make a difference," said Mike Simon, Matt's dad, "but every bit does help."
You can apply for the Livestock Assistance Grant Program
until August 29th. Calhoun says he expects livestock producers to start receiving money from the program in mid-September.