The Puerto Rico Agriculture Department has allocated $1 million to create an incentive program that would help mitigate the effects the drought has had on livestock in 17 municipalities of the island.
Agriculture Secretary Carlos Flores-Ortega signed an order authorizing the Agricultural Enterprises Development Administration (ADEA, for its initials in Spanish,) to create a mitigation program to assist cattle, goat and sheep companies in the following municipalities: Guayama, Salinas, Santa Isabel, Coamo, Villalba, Juana Diaz, Ponce, Peñuelas, Guánica, Guayanilla, San Germán, Hormigueros, Yauco, Sabana Grande, Cabo Rojo, Arroyo and Cayey.
“These companies are an important part of Puerto Rico’s agricultural and economic development,” he said.
“The persisting drought in these towns has had significant effects on food production and farmers have had to resort to buying concentrated food, increasing costs for the operation of their agricultural activity,” he said.
Agriculture will distribute 550 vouchers to farmers to cover 50% of the cost of feed concentrate for maintenance of up to $10 per hundredweight or whatever is less, and up to 250 adult livestock animals per farmer or company, and a maximum of 200 animals in the case of small ruminants.
Cattle and small ruminant farmers registered in the agency’s so-called Super Agricultural Regions covering the affected municipalities who have 10 or more animals on the farm where livestock is located are eligible for the aid.
Farmers may apply for the incentives through their agricultural region, Flores-Ortega said.