From the Ground Up - U.S. Drought and the 2012 Farm Bill

Last week the administrator of the Farm Service Agency that’s part of the USDA was in town to meet with local ag producers to discuss the new Farm Bill currently being debated in Washington.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers farm commodity, crop insurance, credit, environmental, conservation, and emergency assistance programs for farmers and ranchers.

“The situation is, leading on to this, is a drought situation throughout the country, and this is the worst drought in a long time, as y’all had last year, in 2011 here in Texas it was pretty rough, and being in Texas, I know we had a rough drought in ’08, had a rough drought in ’09, it continued on into ’09, 10 was better, and the 11 came along.”

Juan Garcia is director of the Farm Service Agency and says that not long ago areas of the Midwest began to panic because it started getting dry.

“I really wasn’t panicking and finally realized, wait a minute, Midwest, I mean that’s the bread basket, that’s the major corn belt. When you have Ohio, Indiana, and then Iowa getting into abnormally dry conditions, it’s pretty serious. They’re not used to that. We’re pulling all the tools out of our tool box to see what we can do with USDA because as I mentioned, our disaster programs that were approved in ’08 have expired.”

The drought has fueled the debate in Congress on whether or not to extend the 2008 farm bill that expires September 30th and press ahead for immediate help for drought stricken farmers, or continue to work to pass a new Farm Bill. There are things that are included both the Senate and House bills.

“Both sides have these livestock programs in their bill. The livestock forage program which helps producers when you have losses in forage like drought situations. The House and the Senate are going to have to get together and work out these major differences in their program, and that’s where the committees will conference and see what they can get done.”

I’m Kailey Carey, looking at Brazos Valley Agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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