President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the McIntosh family farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa, on Monday, August 13, 2012 to view the drought stricken crops. The federal government has already taken some steps to ease farmers whose crops are growing poorly this summer, and the administration plans to spend close to $200 million on livestock, officials announced earlier in the day. The Department of Defense is encouraging vendors to buy meat to ease the crisis. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.
USDA and other federal agencies continue to work to address the long term effects of last summer’s historic drought.
In the wake of a series of regional drought conferences with farmers, ranchers, business owners and other stakeholders, USDA is entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Commerce, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to improve sharing of data and expertise, monitoring networks, and drought forecasting efforts. The MOU is a direct outcome of the regional conferences. Read more »
Farmer Doug Goyings examines the drought-damaged corn on his farm in Paulding County, OH on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. USDA photo by Christina Reed.
The 2012 drought dried up more than just crops. For many U.S. farmers, it also dried up savings, material resources, and perhaps saddest of all, hope.
“The drought of course impacted our crop yields tremendously,” said veteran Ohio dairy farmer Leon Weaver. “Corn yields were about 50 percent of normal. Dairymen are exiting this business in droves.”
But for Weaver and nearly one hundred other Ohio, Michigan and Indiana farmers who gathered recently in rural Henry County, Ohio, hope was a commodity worth trading as they shared, in roundtable fashion, their ideas on how to access resources and rise from the dust. Read more »
Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, joined Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture V.O. “Butch” Calhoun, along with USDA and other federal, state and local officials on October 17th for a regional workshop to outline resources available to assist with drought recovery efforts. The meeting was held at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff campus.
Over 150 participants, including stakeholders, discussed the drought’s effects on water quality and quantity, forestry, community and economic impacts, and agriculture and agribusiness. Currently, more than two-thirds of the country is affected by the drought. Participants in the meeting offered thoughts on developing a new framework for cooperation among local, state and federal partners when it comes to drought recovery, and shared ideas about how to establish long-term relationships at all levels in these communities. Collaboration, coordination and communication were the themes during the meeting. Read more »
Deputy Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the Economic Development Administration (left); Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar (right), and Colleen Callahan of USDA prepare for the morning session at the drought conference. USDA photo.
Over 100 attendees joined Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration and Colorado Agricultural Commissioner John Salazar at the second of four regional workshops to outline resources available to assist with drought recovery efforts. The Colorado regional workshop was held at the state fairgrounds in Pueblo earlier this week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is partnering with tribes, local, state and federal partners to hold the workshops. Federal partners include the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
With over two-thirds of the country in drought, recovery efforts are underway and a new framework for delivery is being developed. Collaboration, coordination and communication were the prevalent themes at the Colorado workshop. These efforts will be needed at all levels of government and our ability to work together is crucial. Read more »
U.S. Winter Wheat Progress, October 14, 2012. (Click to enlarge image.)
Visit www.usda.gov/drought for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.
According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, valid October 9, nearly two-thirds (63.55%) of the contiguous U.S. remains in drought. However, this is down nearly two percentage points from the late-September peak of 65.45%, as recent rains across the South and East have chipped away at the drought. At the same time, drought continues to gradually intensify across the northern Plains, where rangeland and pastures remain in dismal condition and winter wheat emergence has been hampered by a lack of soil moisture. Read more »
As the drought continues, USDA and other Federal agencies are doing all we can to help farmers, ranchers and communities. Unfortunately, USDA’s tools are limited today. Due to inaction by Congress, many programs authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill expired on October 1. Other aspects of the law will continue to expire in the coming months.
This brings tremendous uncertainty for rural families – particularly livestock producers who have lost access to disaster programs, and dairy producers who no longer have access to dairy support programs.
As we encourage Congress to pass a multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible, USDA continues our work to strengthen the rural economy. This includes continuing our record efforts to expand access to broadband internet in rural areas. Read more »