Agribusiness
Loebsack Visits Drought Stricken Iowa Counties; Announces Legislation to Extend Ag Disaster Programs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 23 July 2012 12:49

Calls for Congress to Stay in Session Until Farm Bill Passes

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack is visiting four farms in Appanoose, Davis, Lee and Wayne counties today to see firsthand the impact the recent drought has had on crops and livestock. Loebsack is touring the farms with local FSA officials to meet with farmers, community members and representatives from the Farm Bureau.  During the tour, Loebsack also announced that he will introduce legislation on Monday to extend agriculture disaster programs created by the previous farm bill through 2012.  The Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act will help our farmers and livestock producers with drought losses beyond insurance until a new farm bill is signed into law.

“We must move quickly to ensure farmers and livestock producers have a safety net as drought and heat conditions persist throughout many critical agricultural and livestock producing areas,” said Loebsack.  “My legislation will extend agriculture disaster assistance and is intended to help our farmers and livestock producers with drought losses beyond insurance until a new farm bill is signed into law.”

Loebsack also called on Congress to remain in session until this, job creation and other important issues are dealt with.

“In light of seeing firsthand the devastation already caused by the drought, I am more convinced than ever that Congress must stay in session until a farm bill is passed so our farmers can have comfort that this disaster will be fully addressed.  In less than two weeks, Congress will break for five weeks.  Just because Congress isn’t voting does not mean the needs of Iowans will go away.  I have previously called for Congress to work every day until Iowans have some confidence that Congress is working in their best interest.  Taking off for an entire month will only make things worse and does nothing to create jobs, boost the economy, or help drought-stricken farms.”

Earlier this week, Loebsack joined a bipartisan group of 79 lawmakers in calling on House leadership to bring a Farm bill to the floor before it expires on September 30th.  In addition, Loebsack urged Speaker of the House John Boehner and the leader of the House Agriculture Committee to address the expiration of critical USDA disaster relief programs when the Farm Bill is brought to the floor. Loebsack has also asked the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to determine whether or not he has the authority to extend the SURE program or the Livestock Indemnity Program for 2012 if Congress is unable to complete a reauthorization of the farm bill. He also urged the USDA to consider emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program land in Iowa when appropriate.

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Highlight the Resilience of American Agriculture in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Monday, 23 July 2012 12:40

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2012 – On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Iowa to meet with producers, industry and business leaders. The Secretary will discuss the ongoing drought, USDA’s efforts to assist producers, and the innovation and resilience of rural Americans in tough times such as these. He will also discuss some of the strengths shared by producers and rural communities that better position us to face this drought now than in years past – new technologies, lower debt, and the continuing strength of export markets.

 

As of July 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 1,055 counties across the country as disaster areas due to drought. According to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report, 88 percent of our nation’s corn and 87 percent of our soybeans are in drought-stricken areas.

 

USDA recently announced a final rule to simplify the process for Secretarial disaster designations –allowing a quicker response to drought. USDA also reduced the interest rate for Farm Service Agency Emergency Loans, lowering the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent, and lowered the payment reduction for Conservation Reserve Program lands that qualify for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10 percent.

 

Monday, July 23, 2012

10 a.m. CDT

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will give remarks on the Resilience of American Agriculture—Innovation, Diversity and Growing Markets

 

WHERE: Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

501 First Street SE

Cedar Rapids, IA

 

 

11:30 a.m. CDT

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will tour drought damage at Eric Cress’ farm.

 

WHERE: 4681 Heines Rd

Center Point, IA

 

 

4:15 p.m. CDT

 

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will give remarks on the Resilience of American Agriculture—Innovation, Diversity and Growing Markets

WHERE: Soy Energy

4172 19th Street Southwest

Mason City, IA

 
Gov. Branstad reminds public of harvesting grass in state highway ditches PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad   
Monday, 23 July 2012 12:31

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Branstad today encouraged farmers to harvest grass in the state highway right of way as a way to help combat this summer’s drought.

“Under the hot and dry conditions that the state is and has been experiencing, farmers are searching for alternative ways to feed their livestock. Harvesting grass along the side of state roads is an efficient and economical mean for farmers to maintain their livestock levels,” said Branstad.

Farmers are allowed to legally mow and bale grass on highway right of ways only during certain periods of the year as established by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Persons interested must have a permit, granted by the Iowa DOT, before mowing. The permit form can be found here. All work should be performed between 30 minutes after sunrise and 30 minutes before sunset.

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For more information, please visit www.Governor.Iowa.gov.

 
Braley Tours Drought-Stricken Iowa Farm, Calls for Immediate Action on Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 20 July 2012 14:56

Views impact of worsening drought on Iowa crops at farm near Palo, IA

Palo, IA – This afternoon, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) traveled to Gary and Vicki Owens’ farm near Palo, Iowa, to see firsthand the impact of this summer’s drought on Iowa corn and soybean crops.  Braley met with the family and toured the farm before calling on Congress to immediately consider and pass the 2012 Farm Bill.

“Iowa agriculture has been a bright spot in the economy,” Braley said.  “The drought not only threatens the livelihood of countless Iowa farmers, it could have ripple effects for our economic recovery.

 

“If Congress allows the Farm Bill to expire on September 30th, it would only compound the problem.  Much of the disaster assistance funding in the 2008 Farm Bill has already expired, leaving many farmers without a safety net this year.  Farmers need certainty and confidence in the farm safety net they depend on, especially now.  We need to do everything we can to get Iowa agriculture producers the help they need to get through this, and that starts with passing the Farm Bill.”

According to the US Drought Monitor, 59 percent of Iowa is currently considered to be experiencing “severe” drought conditions.

Braley held an emergency telephone town hall meeting last night on the worsening drought conditions, its impact on Iowa agriculture, and the Farm Bill.  This morning, Braley authored a bipartisan letter co-signed by all five members of Iowa’s US House delegation asking House leaders to immediately bring the Farm Bill up for an immediate vote.

The House Agriculture Committee endorsed a version of the 2012 Farm Bill last week, but House leaders have not indicated when it will be considered for a vote.

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The Means to Help Producers Impacted by Drought PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 20 July 2012 14:53

USDA.gov logo

This week, we continued to see historic levels of drought grip much of our nation, impacting thousands of farm families. Although the hard work and innovation of our producers has fueled a strong farm economy in recent years, President Obama and I understand the major challenges this drought poses for American agriculture.

As of July 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 1,055 counties across the country as disaster areas due to drought. Significant portions of many crops are impacted – for example, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report, 88 percent of our nation’s corn and 87 percent of our soybeans are in drought-stricken areas. Rising grain prices are threatening livestock and dairy operators with high input costs.

Our farmers and ranchers are no strangers to uncertainty – but it’s even harder to plan for the future when we don’t know how much more severe the drought will be.

Over the years, American producers have constantly innovated to meet new demands and adapt to new conditions, embracing new methods and utilizing new technology. The same innovative spirit that has positioned American agriculture as a global leader has helped to reduce the impact of the drought.

Nevertheless, the uncertainty of drought means this is a very difficult time for many. At President Obama’s direction, USDA is doing all it can within the Department’s existing authority to help.

Last week, I announced a final rule to simplify the process for Secretarial disaster designations – both to speed the process for producers and to reduce the burden on State government officials, who are also hard at work to help producers around the country cope with this disaster.

I reduced the interest rate for Farm Service Agency Emergency Loans, effectively lowering the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent to help ensure that credit is available for farm families who are hit by drought.

And finally, I announced that USDA has lowered payment reductions for Conservation Reserve Program lands that qualify for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10 percent.

USDA officials are traveling to states around the country to see firsthand the impact of the drought, and we will continue to look for ways to help. But the fact is USDA’s legal authority to provide assistance remains limited right now. That’s because the 2008 Farm Bill disaster programs, which were implemented under President Obama, expired last year. Prior to the expiration, these programs helped hundreds of thousands of U.S. producers during disasters.

If Congress doesn’t act, USDA will remain limited in our means to help drought-stricken producers. That’s why President Obama and I continue to call on Congress to take steps to ensure that USDA has the tools it needs to help farm families during the drought. Disaster assistance for producers is also one of many reasons why we need swift action by Congress to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill this year.

I know that many producers are struggling today with the impact of this historic drought. The President and I are committed to doing all we can to help farmers and ranchers in this difficult time.

As all of us across America hope for rainfall, and while USDA does all it can to assist America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities, I hope that Congress will do all it can to help us get the job done.

 
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