Financial and technical assistance available through the Drought Relief Special Initiative. Craig Derickson, State Conservationist of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced today that NRCS is available to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers through the Drought Relief Special Initiative. Producers may apply for assistance August 6 – 15, 2012. The Drought Relief Special Initiative assistance will be available for land located in any part of a county that has been designated a D3 (Extreme) or D4 (Exceptional) drought zone, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map dated July 24, 2012, or later. Drought Monitor maps are available on line http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?NE,HP, and are updated every Thursday morning. More information about drought assistance and specific Farm Bill programs can be found at www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov. Locate your nearest NRCS field office at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.