Government Announces New Actions To Assist With Drought
Government agencies work together to ensure appropriate response to drought disaster; Obama Administration announces new efforts to provide assistance.
Published: Aug 8, 2012
To respond to immediate needs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies are using their existing authorities wherever possible to address the hardships arising from the lack of water, feed, and forage. Within the last month, USDA has opened the Conservation Reserve Program to emergency haying and grazing, has lowered the borrower interest rate for emergency loans, and has called on crop insurance companies to provide more flexibility to farmers. The Department of the Interior has provided additional grazing flexibility on federal lands and the Small Business Administration is working to help with access to investment capital and credit in affected communities.
GOVERMENT ACTION: New plans announced Tuesday aim to support rural America during the drought.On Tuesday, President Obama convened his White House Rural Council for one of a continuing series of policy meetings to review Executive Branch response actions and to develop additional policy initiatives to assist drought-stricken Americans. Following the meeting, the White House announced several new measures the Administration is implementing to help those impacted by the drought, including providing additional assistance for livestock and crop producers, increasing the capacity for lending to small businesses, and waiving certain requirements on trucks helping to provide relief. President Obama also stressed the need for the entire Administration to continue to look at further steps it can take to ease the pain of this historic drought.
The Administration plans to implement longer-term strategies for assessing and managing the crisis. In addition to impacts on farming and ranching operations, a long-term, widespread drought will also have implications for wildfires, water availability, navigation, and power generation across much of the country and across other sectors.
While the Administration is exploring avenues to provide relief from the the drought, Congress still needs to act to ensure that the needed disaster assistance is available to these communities. The best way to do that is by passing a comprehensive, multi-year farm bill that not only provides much-needed disaster assistance but gives farmers and ranchers the certainty they deserve while enacting critical reforms.
New Actions by Federal Agencies to Help Respond to the Drought
Additional Emergency Funding to Assist Livestock and Crop Producers: To assist producers facing extreme drought conditions, USDA announced Tuesday that it will utilize nearly $16 million in financial and technical assistance to immediately help crop and livestock producers in 19 states cope with the adverse impacts of the historic drought. In addition, USDA will initiate a transfer of $14 million in unobligated program funds into the Emergency Conservation Program. These funds can be used to assist in moving water to livestock in need, providing emergency forage for livestock, and rehabilitating lands severely impacted by the drought. Together these efforts should provide nearly $30 million to producers struggling with drought conditions.
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Tagged: Drought, usda, livestock, crop insurance, Conservation Reserve Program