Administration to Speed Implementation of Farm Bill Disaster Program
President Obama has directed USDA to implement the farm bill's livestock disaster programs within 60 days. The assistance will help those ranchers in the Dakotas and other places that have faced winter weather challenges. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the programs are expected to provide 100-million dollars in assistance to California ranchers and more than a billion dollars nationwide.
A White House fact sheet shows that producers will be able to sign up for the livestock disaster programs for losses experienced in 2012, 2013 and 2014 beginning in April. The program will pay farmers and ranchers for lost animals and provide money for them to purchase feed. According to Vilsack - farmers should be paid shortly after they sign up. In addition - Vilsack says the Administration is providing 15-million dollars in conservation assistance for the most extreme and exceptional drought areas through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Five-million of the additional assistance will go to California - with 10-million available for drought-impacted areas in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado and New Mexico. The assistance helps farmers and ranchers implement practices that conserve scarce water resources, reduce wind erosion on drought-impacted fields and improve livestock access to water.
California is getting other USDA assistance as well - including five-million dollars in targeted Emergency Watershed Protection Program assistance; 60-million dollars for California food banks through The Emergency Food Assistance Program; 600 summer meal sites to be established in the state's drought-stricken areas; and three-million dollars in emergency water assistance grants for rural communities experiencing a significant decline in the quality or quantity of drinking water because of the drought.
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