USDA Drought Response - Digital Resources: 7/19/12 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:56

Visit the USDA Drought webpage for the latest information and resources


President Barack Obama is briefed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Administration’s efforts to respond to the historic drought conditions being felt across the country, during a meeting in the Oval Office, July 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Press Releases:

USDA Designates an Additional 39 Counties in 8 States as Primary Natural Disaster Areas Due to Worsening Drought


USDA Officials Stand with Farmers and Ranchers Affected by Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters


USDA Announces Streamlined Disaster Designation Process with Lower Emergency Loan Rates and Greater CRP Flexibility in Disaster Areas


Flickr Collections- Drought


TV Actuality:

Drought and food prices

User name: usdanews

Password: Newscontent1

USDA Radio:

Vilsack Calls For Help From Congress To Help Drought Area Farmers


The nation's top agricultural official says he needs help from Congress if he's going to be able to do much to help drought stricken producers, especially livestock producers. (Gary Crawford and Secy' Tom Vilsack)


Actuality: Vilsack's Overall Description Of The Drought


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in a White House news briefing, giving reporters a general description of the drought.

Crop Insurance Ready For Drought Related Claims


A USDA official says crop insurance companies are prepared for potential claims related to this year's drought conditions. (Rod Bain and Risk Management Agency Administrator Bill Murphy)

USDA Officials Travelling To Fire And Drought Areas


USDA officials continue to visit and evaluate areas plagued by ongoing and potential disasters such as drought and wildfire. (Rod Bain and Risk Management Agency Administrator Bill Murphy)


How Will The Heat And Drought Affect Food Prices?


When, if ever, will consumers see higher food prices as a result of this summer's drought? (Gary Crawford and Joe Glauber)

Web Information Resources:

Emergency Preparedness and Response Page

USDA's Drought Page


Agricultural Weather Updates


ERS Website

For retail food price information and other factors.

Loebsack Urges Congress to Include Disaster Relief Programs in Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:49

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today called on Speaker of the House John Boehner and the leader of the House Agriculture Committee to address the expiration of two critical USDA disaster relief programs when the Farm Bill is brought to the floor.  During the recent Ag Committee mark up of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012 (FARRM Act), there was no discussion of extending the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program for crop losses in 2012; the Livestock Indemnity Program is included for 2012. Both programs are no longer covering losses, which leaves a large gap in critical assistance for farmers with passage of a farm bill this year in question.

“Traveling extensively throughout large portions of Iowa, I have met with numerous farmers and have heard firsthand of the worsening [drought] conditions,” urged Loebsack.  “Given the worsening conditions and already substantial livestock losses that have occurred in the Midwest and throughout the South, I again respectfully urge you to consider a disaster programs when the FARRM Act is brought to the floor of the House.”

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 asked the USDA to consider emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program land in Iowa.

A copy of both letters can be found below.

USDA Disaster Aid Programs:

USDA Disaster Aid Programs to Secretary Vilsack


Grassley works to lower trade barriers for U.S. pork, beef and poultry exports to Russia PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:35
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today won Finance Committee approval of his legislation to require the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to continue negotiating with Russian officials for a bilateral Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) equivalence agreement even though Russia already has gained accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Grassley said the Obama administration should have been pushing for greater reductions to non-tariff trade barriers on agricultural products, including reaching a separate, bilateral agreement on SPS standards, when negotiating the Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) accession package.

“The administration missed an important opportunity during accession discussions to demand a separate SPS equivalence agreement,” he said.  “I appreciate that Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch supported my effort to include my sanitary and phytosanitary provisions in the bill that the committee approved today.  The lesson of the U.S. experience with China on these issues is that you cannot assume anything, and an aggressive approach is needed for science-based standards.”

In a June letter to President Obama, Grassley and 33 other senators said, “If we are not able to adequately address the SPS issues, it will undermine the commitments obtained [from Russia] on tariffs and quotas.”

Last year, U.S. beef, pork and poultry exports collectively ranked second only to aircraft engines in total U.S. export value to Russia.

In addition to requiring a continued effort by USTR to secure a bilateral agreement on SPS standards, the Finance Committee-approved PNTR bill also would require USTR to annually report to Congress on Russia’s implementation of the SPS requirements that are set forth in the WTO accession agreement with regard to U.S. agricultural products.

During the Finance Committee meeting today, Grassley said, “American pork producers in particular have had to deal with a number of unjustifiable standards imposed by Russia in recent years.”  The Iowa senator said he will be looking for a detailed report from negotiators from the U.S. Trade Representative about Russia’s standards for trichinae, tetracycline and salmonella, among other issues, when Russia’s implementation of the WTO SPS agreement is assessed.


SATURDAY: Loebsack to Tour Drought Stricken Areas PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:09

Will visit Southern Iowa Counties

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that he will be touring counties in Southern Iowa on SATURDAY, July 21st that were recently approved for emergency farm loans because of the recent lack of rain and severe heat in the area and in Missouri.  Loebsack will tour farms, talk with officials from FSA offices and meet with local Farm Bureau and community members in Southern Iowa counties, including Appanoose, Davis, Lee and Wayne.  Reports have said this is the worst drought in Iowa since 1988. Loebsack will also be discussing his call for disaster-loss programs for crops and livestock to be extended in the farm bill to cover this crop year.

“With no end in sight to the hot weather and lack of rain, crops and livestock across Iowa will continue to be adversely affected,” said Loebsack.  “I am ready to work alongside these farmers assisting in any way necessary.”

The full schedule and additional details will be forthcoming.


Morthland Encourages Drought Assistance to Farmers in Letter to Quinn PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Rep. Rich Morthland   
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 08:33

Moline, IL… State Rep. Rich Morthland (R-Cordova) joined a group of Illinois House republicans today in sending a letter to Governor Quinn thanking him for the recent response to the severe drought conditions across the state, along with a request that the Governor’s administration put in place a system that will provide lawmakers with regular updates and developments that might help those in need.

“As a farmer, I am well aware of the devastating economic impact caused by these extreme weather conditions. The drought is not only going to hurt farmers, ethanol producers and our livestock producers; it will also lead to higher food prices for families,” Morthland said. “I look forward to helping distribute any updates or new financial assistance opportunities to my constituents who may qualify for the programs.”

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