Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES - New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture will help distribute some 5.5 million pounds of nonfat dry milk this summer to beef cattle, buffalo, sheep and goat owners in five northern New Mexico counties.
The nonfat dry milk is being distributed as part of a nine-state U.S. Department of Agriculture drought assistance program. The nonfat dry milk being offered to ranchers is a portion of the 1 billion pounds of powdered milk currently being stored by the U.S. government. The milk was originally intended for human consumption but has passed its expiration date.
The five counties include San Juan, Taos, Rio Arriba, Colfax and Union. Eligible livestock are foundation herds only (breeding and replacement stock). Ranchers interested in receiving the milk will be required to self-certify their herd size and be able to promptly retrieve the milk from centrally located distribution points.
Ranchers may also trade the nonfat dry milk to purchase feed containing nonfat dry milk with participating feed manufacturers and dealers.
"The real thing the cow needs during drought is energy feeds, and nonfat dry milk is primarily a protein source," said Ron Parker, head of the animal resources department with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. "Producers may choose to barter their nonfat dry milk supply to feed dealers in exchange for protein supplements that will be needed following the growing season."
Nonfat dry milk is approximately 36 percent protein. Individual producers who desire to barter their allocation with feed dealers must make those contacts, he said.
Livestock owners can pick up an application packet at the local county Extension office in eligible counties or on the Internet at www.nmda.nmsu.edu. A self-certification document and the liability waiver must be completed and returned to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture or county Extension office by June 13. Questions about the program can be directed to your county Extension agent or the Department of Agriculture at (505) 646-5152.
The nonfat dry milk program does not affect livestock owners' eligibility for other USDA-sponsored drought relief programs.
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