Obama Announces Assistance To Drought-Stricken Californians

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined President Barack Obama in Fresno, CA, today to announce that the USDA will provide additional assistance to help farmers, ranchers and residents affected by severe drought in California. At President Obama’s direction, USDA has made implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill livestock disaster assistance programs a top priority and plans to have the programs available for sign-up by April 15.

“President Obama and I will continue to do everything within our power to support California farmers, ranchers and families living in drought-stricken areas. This assistance, coupled with other aid being made available across government, should provide some relief during this difficult time,” said Vilsack. “Thanks to the newly-signed Farm Bill, we are now able to offer long-awaited livestock disaster assistance, which will provide needed stability for California livestock producers impacted by drought.”

USDA has declared 54 counties in California as primary natural disaster areas due to drought. Additional USDA resources announced for California and other drought-stricken states today include:

• $100 million in livestock disaster assistance for California producers. The 2014 Farm Bill contains permanent livestock disaster programs including the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, which will help producers in California and other areas recover from the drought. At President Obama’s direction, USDA is making implementation of the disaster programs a top priority and plans to have the programs available for sign up in 60 days. Producers will be able to sign up for the livestock disaster programs for losses not only for 2014 but for losses they experienced in 2012 and 2013. While these livestock programs took over a year to get assistance out the door under the last Farm Bill — USDA has committed to cut that time by more than 80 percent and begin sign-up in April. California alone could potentially receive up to $100 million for 2014 losses and up to $50 million for previous years.

• $15 million in targeted conservation assistance for the most extreme and exceptional drought areas. This includes $5 million in additional assistance to California and $10 million for drought-impacted areas in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico. The funding is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered by USDA. The assistance helps farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices that conserve scarce water resources, reduce wind erosion on drought-impacted fields and improve livestock access to water.

• $5 million in targeted Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program assistance to the most drought impacted areas of California to protect vulnerable soils. EWP helps communities address watershed impairments due to drought and other natural occurrences. This funding will help drought-ravaged communities and private landowners address watershed impairments, such as stabilizing stream banks and replanting upland sites stripped of vegetation.

• $60 million has been made available to food banks in the State of California to help families that may be economically impacted by the drought. The USDA is providing help to food banks through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

• 600 summer meal sites to be established in California’s drought stricken areas. The USDA is working with the California Department of Education to target efforts to expand the number of Summer Food Service Program meal sites this summer. There are expected to be close to 600 summer meal sites throughout the drought stricken areas.

• $3 million in Emergency Water Assistance Grants for rural communities experiencing water shortages. USDA is making $3 million in grants available to help rural communities that are experiencing a significant decline in the quality or quantity of drinking water due to the drought obtain or maintain water sources of sufficient quantity and quality. These funds will be provided to eligible, qualified communities by application through USDA-Rural Development’s Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants (ECWAG). California state health officials have already identified 17 small community water districts in 10 counties that are at risk of running out of water in 60-120 days. This number is expected to increase if current conditions persist.

Today’s announcements build on other recent USDA efforts to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners mitigate the impacts of drought. Last week, USDA announced $20 million in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds for agricultural conservation enhancements on key agricultural lands in California. These enhancements include irrigation efficiency, cover crops, orchard pruning, and protection of grazing lands. USDA also announced $15 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in available funding to state and local governments, tribes, universities, businesses, and agricultural producers. These grants are dedicated to stimulating the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, including those that will help communities adapt to drought and climate change.

USDA also announced last week the establishment of regional Climate Hubs across the country that will help farmers, ranchers and communities get the information and data they need to make informed decisions around a changing climate. One center was established at the University of California-Davis.

As USDA begins implementing disaster assistance programs, producers should record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:
• Crop records, including seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records;
• Pictures of on-farm storage facilities that were destroyed by wind or flood waters; and
• Evidence of damaged farm land.
For more information about today’s announcements, visit the USDA drought resource page. .

 Source: USDA 

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories

Grapefruit & SpecialtyFlorida Grapefruit Growers Feeling Good About Early Crop Forecasts
November 14, 2014
Producers, packers, and suppliers view initial USDA outlooks as positive predictor for future. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateScientists Track Scent To Successful Citrus Psyllid Control
November 14, 2014
New research identifies odors that could help in the fight against HLB. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Forecast Stands Firm Through Season’s First Month
November 10, 2014
Latest USDA outlook unchanged for oranges and grapefruit. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksCitrus Research And Development Foundation Seeks Grower Cooperators
November 10, 2014
Five HLB-tolerant rootstocks to be evaluated in three main growing regions of Florida. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardGroundwork Set For Fruitful Future In Florida Citrus
November 1, 2014
Progress in research, significant government funding, and new plantings have 2014 Citrus Achievement Award winner Mike Sparks feeling positive. Read More
CitrusForecast: South Florida Dry Season May See Fair Share Of Damp Days
October 31, 2014
Outlook calls for possible above-normal precipitation around region for fall and winter months. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
The funds will go toward helping growers implement conservation practices to improve honey bee health. Read More

The Latest

CitrusRamped-Up Predatory Mite Production To Benefit Growers
November 21, 2014
Biologics company Beneficial Insectary now rearing two species in its California facility. Read More
CitrusWomen’s Impact On Agriculture Impressive [Opinion…
November 18, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the long-term sustainability of farming depends on our youth. Read More
CitrusPrograms Burgeon To Promote Citrus Plantings
November 17, 2014
Processors and USDA step up to support growers who are putting new trees in the ground. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Forecast Stands Firm Through Season’s …
November 10, 2014
Latest USDA outlook unchanged for oranges and grapefruit. Read More
CitrusForecast: South Florida Dry Season May See Fair Share O…
October 31, 2014
Outlook calls for possible above-normal precipitation around region for fall and winter months. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
The funds will go toward helping growers implement conservation practices to improve honey bee health. Read More
CitrusModern Agriculture Is A True Centerpiece Of Thanksgivin…
October 27, 2014
FFAA's Mary Hartney says take time during this holiday season to give thanks where thanks is due. Read More
CitrusNOAA’s Winter Weather Outlook Runs Hot And Cold
October 27, 2014
Repeat of last year’s extreme cold and snow events east of the Rockies unlikely. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers Get Box Tax Relief
October 23, 2014
Citrus Commission votes to put dollars back in producers’ hands to spur reinvestment. Read More
CitrusEPA Launches Program To Reduce Pesticide Drift
October 22, 2014
The voluntary star-rating program aims to protect people, wildlife and the environment. Read More
CitrusMcCrometer Introduces New Ag Management Mobile App
October 22, 2014
The app displays data on weather, ET, soil moisture, water flow, and more. Read More
CitrusAgriculture, Interior Departments Partner To Measure Co…
October 22, 2014
Goal is to provide science-based information for watershed wellness. Read More
CitrusIt’s Time For Young Farming Leaders To Engage [Op…
October 21, 2014
Florida Grower editor Frank Giles says there are capable and talented youths in the ag field ready to step up and take the reins. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Launches New Award To Recognize Produ…
October 21, 2014
Award recognizes innovation that enhances the role of produce in creating better lives. Read More
CitrusReport: Major Food And Agriculture Employers Can’t Fi…
October 21, 2014
Current shortage of young farming professionals means ample employment opportunity for the next generation. Read More
CitrusGrowers Need To Take The Ball And Run — Now! [Opi…
October 18, 2014
Help yourself, your farm, and fellow colleagues by becoming more involved in your industry. Read More
CitrusLegendary Florida Citrus Grower And Advocate Passes
October 17, 2014
Joe L. Davis Sr. will be remembered for his straight talk and sage advice. Read More
CitrusDiversification Is King For Small Farm’s Success
October 16, 2014
Being flexible and adapting to the times critical for Central Florida's Vo-LaSalle Farms. Read More