With Congress failing to pass a new farm bill or a drought relief bill, ranchers across the country are in limbo until Congress reconvenes, leaving many to face a tough economic future in the absence of federal aid.
For the past several months, farmers across the country have been struggling with increasingly worsening drought conditions. From California to Ohio, the abnormally high temperature and the severe lack of rain and moisture have stunted agricultural production. While much of the national news has focused on crop losses, livestock farmers are also suffering from the drought conditions and in some cases are facing a tougher road than most crop farmers are.
While drought conditions across the country are ruining corn crops, federal insurance programs are available to help blunt the worst of the economic losses. Ranchers, however, aren’t included in federal crop insurance protections and most private insurers won’t cover grazing land because it is too unpredictable.
Without access to insurance programs, livestock farmers are in economic limbo until Congress reconvenes and passes new drought protections. Until then, ranchers have few protections and many are considering selling off their herds to avoid financial catastrophe. Congress’s lack of action, in addition to being potentially ruinous, is deeply frustrating to many ranchers.
According to one Nebraska rancher, “I’d like to see every one of the senators and congressmen go out into one of these widespread, drought-stricken areas and spend a day. Walk around and see the effects of what’s going on. Look at the local economies and see what’s going to happen to them.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer