The USDA released a blog post October 5, 2012, with a message that may be good news to struggling farmers in Colorado, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Ohio. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wrote that the USDA will partner with other federal agencies to conduct workshops for farmers in drought-stricken parts of the country.
Many of the disaster relief programs created under the 2008 Farm Bill expired on October 1, leaving rural families and livestock producers in the dark about what relief tools are currently out there to help. The primary goal of the workshops will be to listen to local farmers and producers regarding the challenges created by the current drought, arguably one of the worst in decades. Farmers and communities will also have the opportunity to learn more about the available tools to help speed the drought recovery process.
The workshops will take place over the next 3 weeks, and the USDA will look to gain an understanding of local needs in drought-stricken communities, ultimately helping the USDA and other Federal agencies determine to best way to respond to these issues. The drought workshops began on October 9 in Omaha, Nebraska, and will continue over the month of October in Pueblo, Colorado, and parts of Arkansas and Ohio.
Recovery from the 2012 drought will be an ongoing and lengthy process for many of the nation’s farmers, so it is important to outline resources available to assist with local, regional, and state recovery efforts. Using a team approach, USDA and federal agencies will work with local government, community, and business leaders, regional planning organizations, and economic and state development and agriculture organizations to explore issues ranging from infrastructure challenges to development and financing needs, attempting to look at the total recovery picture for the region.
It will certainly be interesting to see what comes out of these workshops and meetings. We hope that our hardworking and dedicated ag land ownersv get the resources they need!