Federal Drought Relief May Not Be Likely This Year

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After a devastating year losing crops and cattle to drought or wildfires, farmers and ranchers probably won't see federal relief anytime soon.

US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison says obtaining federal drought assistance this year would be an "uphill fight" but promised to keep working for it.

Hutchison made the statement yesterday to a crowd of more than 12-hundred at the Texas Farm Bureau's 73rd annual convention in Arlington.

Texas is the nation's Number 2 agriculture state. It's also reeling from the worst-ever drought. It caused an estimated 2-point-6 (b) billion dollars in crop losses and 1-point-5 (b) billion in livestock industry losses this year.

The House and Senate have decided to send an unfinished budget to next year's Democratic-controlled Congress.

This week Congress is expected to approve continued funding for most federal programs at fiscal 2006 levels through mid-February. That's because neither chamber has agreed on any of the new spending bills for the fiscal year that began in October, except those covering defense and homeland security.