Continues call for action on Farm Bill and Disaster Assistance
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after learning that Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack had issued a disaster declaration to assist Iowa farmers who have suffered losses from the ongoing drought impacting the Midwest. The counties identified in this declaration have experienced a drought intensity value of at least severe for eight or more consecutive weeks, with some counties experiencing extreme drought conditions at some point. Harkin is a senior member and former chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee.
“The ongoing drought continues to inflict hardship on farmers in Iowa and across the Midwest,” said Harkin. “With today’s announcement, farmers in eligible counties may apply and qualify for low-interest loans and other disaster assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency, and farmers in all Iowa counties will be allowed expanded haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres. I welcome today’s actions and thank Secretary Vilsack for responding to our severe drought problems in Iowa.”
In Washington, Congressman Dave Loebsack today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for issuing an agriculture disaster declaration for 42 counties that have seen extensive damage to crops and livestock from the recent drought. Last week, Loebsack introduced the Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act to help farmers and livestock producers with drought losses beyond insurance until a new farm bill is signed into law.
“I have been walking the rows with farmers to hear firsthand about the damage the recent heat and lack of rain has done to their crops and livestock. I applaud the USDA for their decision and will continue advocating for the farmers and rural areas who have been greatly impacted.
“USDA has moved to help Iowa farmers – now Congress needs to act and stop playing politics. As Iowans continue to struggle to recover, our rural areas and farmers need certainty during these tough times. They need Congress to pass a long-term farm bill and extend access to agriculture disaster assistance, not take votes for the appearance of action and then leave for August recess. Unfortunately, with disaster programs already expired and the farm bill is about to expire – it is now more important than ever for Congress to get to work instead of going on vacation while the fields wither.”
Specifically, the counties of Appanoose, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cedar, Clayton, Clinton, Davis, Delaware, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Lucas, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne.
Benefits are also available for the contiguous counties of Allamakee, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clarke, Dallas, Decatur, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Warren, Washington, Webster, Winneshiek and Wright.