Agriculture Officials Touring States Gripped by Disaster, Encouraging Congress to Restore Disaster Assistance by Passing Food, Farm and Jobs Bill
As serious drought conditions continue to creep across nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials are fanning out to rural communities across the country to show support to farmers and ranchers affected by a string of extreme weather in 2012.
During the 2012 crop year, USDA has designated 1,297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. In the weeks ahead, additional USDA subcabinet leaders will travel to Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and others to augment ongoing assistance from state-level USDA staff. USDA officials will also provide guidance on the department’s existing disaster resources and remind producers to keep thorough records of losses as the department’s authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2011.
U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its most productive periods in American history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of U.S. producers. A strong farm safety net is important to sustain the success of American agriculture.