BISMARCK, N.D. — Drought-stricken North Dakota ranchers are being given more time to apply for state aid to help them pay the cost of hauling in hay to maintain their herds through the winter.

The state Agriculture Department is extending the application deadline for the hay-hauling aid program from Nov. 3 to Nov. 13.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the program also will now reimburse eligible ranchers for hay transportation expenses incurred between June 1 and Nov. 6.

The state Emergency Commission in late August approved $1.5 million for the program, in response to the worst drought in decades over the summer. Alfalfa hay production in North Dakota is down 30 percent from last year, and production of all other hay is down 43 percent.

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