President Barack Obama recently committed the White House to increasing agricultural aid to struggling farmers by $30 million, claiming that the historic drought required aggressive action to help protect the farm sector.
The current drought, one of the worst the country has seen in more than 50 years, is hitting farmers hard. More than two-thirds of the nation is experiencing some form of drought, with one-third experiencing severe to extreme drought. The severe weather comes at a bad time for American farmers, who had hoped to raise the largest corn crop in 80 years this summer. Nationwide, about 50 percent of the corn crop is in poor or very poor condition.
The $30 million, Obama says, will go towards helping farmers rebuild damaged land. It will help water to dry soil and scorched crops, and will help feed and water livestock, which is being sold off in record numbers in some states. In addition, the Obama administration and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack are opening Conservation Reserve land to farmers and are pressuring crop insurers to offer grace periods for premium payments.
“This has been an all hands on deck response,” Obama said in a Cabinet meeting. “It is a historic drought and it has had a profound impact on farmers and ranchers.”
Obama also urged Congress to pass a new farm bill after the August recess, stating that he hoped the drought added a sense of urgency to congressional deliberations.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer