McCaskill: Resources on the way for Drought-Stricken Missouri
Disaster Designation opens door for federal aid, while irresponsible delay of Farm Bill in U.S. House is limiting resources available to farmers, ranchers
July 17, 2012
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill applauded the federal approval of a disaster designation for all 114 counties in Missouri and the independent city of St. Louis in recognition of the losses incurred by farmers and ranchers due to excessive heat and extreme drought conditions.
"Federal resources are now on the way for Missouri's drought-stricken communities, families, and businesses," McCaskill said. "Agriculture is a primary driver of Missouri's economy and a creator of jobs in our communities, and this designation will provide crucial support for Missouri's farm and ranch families suffering significant losses to crops, pasture, and livestock."
With today's approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, all of Missouri's 114 counties and the independent city of St. Louis are now considered disaster areas for purposes of opening up federal resources to affected communities. This designation will allow producers in Missouri suffering physical and production losses to qualify for low-interest U.S. Farm Service Agency emergency loans.
McCaskill and Senator Roy Blunt wrote to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week, urging him to quickly move forward with Governor Nixon's request to help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities recover from this severe drought.
McCaskill is also renewing her call for the House of Representatives to quickly take up and pass the Farm Bill, bipartisan legislation recently passed by the Senate with McCaskill's support.
In 2011, several Federal agricultural disaster assistance programs expired. These programs provide essential resources to producers faced with losses stemming from extreme weather events like the current drought. In addition to reducing the deficit by $23 billion, the Senate-passed Farm Bill retroactively renews these programs.
"It's been nearly a month since the Senate passed the Farm Bill-a strongly bipartisan bill that supports job-growth, cuts the deficit, and protects critical resources for our families, and farms and ranches across rural America," McCaskill said. "The House of Representatives needs to get to work. As the disaster designation makes clear, Missouri's farmers and ranchers don't have time to wait."
The complete text of the letter from McCaskill and Blunt urging approval of governor Nixon's request is pasted below:
July 11, 2012
The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Whitten Building, Room 200A
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
On July 10, 2012, Governor Jay Nixon requested a primary disaster declaration for 114 counties in Missouri as a result of losses incurred by farmers and ranchers due to extreme drought conditions. An assessment by the state Farm Service Agency (FSA) has found that all counties in Missouri meet the disaster threshold of having losses of at least 30 percent of the estimated yield of a single crop or where individual farmers sustain losses of more than 30 percent.
Agriculture is a primary driver of Missouri's economy, and it is important that we provide the support our producers need as they suffer significant losses to crops, pasture, and livestock as a result of the record breaking heat and low precipitation. A disaster designation would give eligible producers in Missouri the additional support they need by allowing them to qualify for FSA emergency loans, emergency grazing and haying, and other financial assistance.
It is our hope that you will promptly grant Governor Nixon's request to help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities recover from this severe drought. If you have any further questions regarding this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact us. Once again, thank you for your consideration.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.)
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (Mo.)
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