Vilsack Pushes for Drought Bill

With the ongoing, nationwide drought gradually getting worse, farmers and farm advocates are putting pressure on Congress to pass new disaster aid programs to protect the vulnerable farm sector. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is the latest voice to demand swift action from Congress.

For the past several months, farmers across the country have experienced hotter and drier than average weather. A dry, mild winter quickly transitioned into a hot, dry spring and summer. Already, temperature records across the country have been broken and broken again. In Indiana, for instance, the state has experienced its hottest first six months of the year since the United States began monitoring weather patterns in the late 1800s.

The drought is withering crops and hammering farmers, leaving many facing losses up to 80 percent of their total summer crop. In addition to financially crippling farmers, this level of loss will inevitably drive food prices up.

Secretary Vilsack hopes that rapid action by Congress could reduce the damage done to American farmers. With House Republican leaders unwilling to put the farm bill to a vote, a separate drought bill appears to be the only way to renew vital disaster aid for beleaguered farmers.

“I know nothing more than the importance of this bill to rural America,” Vilsack said.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer