West Virginia farmers hit by drought can apply for assistance

CHARLESTON — Livestock farmers impacted by recent drought conditions in West Virginia may be eligible for cost-share funding to help purchase water tanks and fittings to water animals.

Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency last week because of the prolonged shortage of rainfall in all 55 counties. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly all areas in the southern half of West Virginia fall in a moderate or severe drought designation while the northern half of the state is considered abnormally dry.

The State Conservation Committee on Monday approved the emergency program to provide 50 percent of the cost of water tanks and fittings with a maximum reimbursement of $400 per farmer.

Retroactive purchases of water tanks and fittings dating back to Sept. 1 will be eligible for reimbursement if the farmer provides receipts and documentation.

The tanks may be filled with water from various sources and are to be used solely for the purpose of supplying livestock with drinking water.

The life span of the program is five years, meaning a farmer who receives a reimbursement for water tanks and fittings cannot apply again for another five years.

Interested farmers should contact their local conservation district to participate in the emergency program.

The conservation districts in counties in the region are:

In Calhoun, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood counties, the Little Kanawha Conservation District. Phone is 304-422-9088 and email is LKCD@wvca.us.

In Pleasants, Tyler and Wetzel counties, the Upper Ohio Conservation District. Phone is 304-758-2512 and email is UOCD@wvca.us.

In Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison and Lewis counties, the West Fork Conservation District. Phone is 304-627-2160 and email is WFCD@wvca.us.

In Jackson, Mason and Putnam counties, the Western Conservation District. Phone is 304-675-3054 and email is WCD@wvca.us.

The mission of the West Virginia Conservation Agency is to provide for and promote the protection and conservation of West Virginia’s soil, land, water and related resources for the health, safety and general welfare of the state’s citizens, officials said.