A number of New Mexico ranchers say the U.S. Department of Agriculture isn’t giving them the insurance payments they paid for and need.

Last year, the USDA Risk Management Agency offered a pilot program in which ranchers in New Mexico and other states could work with private insurance companies to buy policies they expected to pay out claims in case of drought. Now, in the midst of a drought so severe that Roosevelt and other counties have been declared disaster areas, ranchers said the Risk Management Agency tells them their pastures have too much vegetation to receive the money.

New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau Executive Vice President Matt Rush, a Roosevelt County native, said producers were told pay-outs would be determined by the greenness of pastures as seen on satellite images. They had to sign up by Sept. 30, 2010, to participate