On June 15, 2011 USDA’s executive director of the National Food and Agriculture Council, John Berge spoke with agricultural producers and businesses regarding his tour of the agricultural lands devastated by the Missouri River flood and the assistance that USDA has to provide in this time of need.
Berge said, “Our goal with the tour and the conversations that we have had with producers and community leaders is to get a firsthand look and provide that information back to Washington necessary to better deliver our disaster programs expeditiously to effectively respond to this disaster.”
The Missouri river has flooded hundreds of acres in Nebraska and Iowa so far.
Berge, representing USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, John Whitaker, Executive Director for Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Dan Steinkruger, Executive Director for Nebraska FSA made visits along the Missouri River including stops in Blair, Tekamah and Decatur in Nebraska and Onawa, Missouri Valley and Glenwood in Iowa. The tour of the damage provided the information necessary for USDA agencies to implement programs to assist producers as they assess recovery efforts.
“It is an amazing thing to see firsthand the damage and potential damage from these historic releases, but equally amazing has been the witnessing of neighbors helping neighbors and community involvement in preparation for this flood,” said Berge.
USDA administers many programs to assist with recovery in rural areas reeling from natural disasters. USDA and the entire federal family have been working with state and local officials to provide relief to residents, farmers, ranchers and businesses.
Secretary Vilsack plans to visit Iowa and Nebraska later this week to assess the impact of the flooding.