Drought losses for Texas crop and livestock producers has reached $3.6 billion and could exceed $4.1 billion by the end of the year, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service also reported that livestock losses have topped $974 million since November 2008, an increase of more than $400 million since March 2009.

"Texas ranchers are continuing to deal with scorched pastures, record-setting high temperatures and empty water tanks as the drought continues to take its toll," said Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association president Dave Scott, a rancher from Richmond, Texas. "TSCRA is working with federal and state agencies to ensure that assistance is available for producers who want to participate."

Under the United States Department of Agriculture's Livestock Indemnity Program, eligible producers can seek benefits for livestock deaths that result from disasters. Eligible losses must have been the result of adverse weather, including losses due to hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfire or extreme heat or cold. Losses must occur between Jan. 1, 2008 and Oct. 1, 2011.

Producers are encouraged to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency office for details on eligibility and program deadlines. Producers do not have to participate in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to qualify for LIP benefits.

Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) The Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP)

Producers will also be able to gain assistance from other supplemental programs, such as the LFP, SURE, and the ELAP, once USDA implements these programs. Participation in NAP is necessary in order to be eligible for benefits through these programs.

TSCRA has asked the USDA to implement the programs as soon as possible and is working with members of Congress to encourage them to weigh in on immediate implementation.

Additionally, TSCRA as well as the Texas Department of Agriculture has asked the USDA to allow emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program land in Texas.

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 132-year-old trade organization and is the largest livestock association in Texas. TSCRA has more than 15,000 members who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 51.5 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma.