Drought 2012: USDA To Announce Relief For Growers

Corn Suffering from DroughtThe USDA is expected to announce a series of relief efforts to help American growers and ranchers hurt by the severe drought that has plagued much of the country – slashing hay output and leaving corn and soybean crops withering in bone-dry fields.

The announcement from the USDA will center on changes in disaster assistance to producers struggling with the drought by focusing on increasing their flexibility in the Conservation Reserve Program – a program that pays producers an annual rent for taking fragile land out of production – and within the department’s authority to provide emergency loans.

The first half of the year was the country’s warmest on record, with thousands of new high temperatures set so far, according to government data. The national temperature in 2012 has averaged was 52.9°, 1.2°  above the next-warmest year in 2006. The unusually warm conditions have placed more than half of the country in a drought, the highest in a century.

Sen. John Thune, R-SD, asked USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in a letter to release land from the reserve program for emergency haying and grazing in South Dakota, which currently has more than 1.1 million acres enrolled in the program. “Due to the scope and magnitude of 2012 drought and high heat conditions, hay supplies are exceptionally limited in the states surrounding South Dakota as well, making it even more urgent to allow access to CRP haying and grazing within the state’s boundaries,” Thune said in the Tuesday letter.

“Timely availability of additional pasture and hay is (livestock producers’) immediate concern and utmost need, or many will be forced to liquidate part or all of their herds of sheep and cattle,” he said.

An estimated 29.6 million acres are currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program with contracts for 6.5 million acres set to expire on Sept. 30, 2012. Congress has a cap in place that limits the number of acres allowed in the program to 32 million. The program normally requires reserve land to be kept off limits to haying and grazing.

The program is highly popular with conservation and sporting groups in several Midwestern states such as Iowa and South Dakota because the idled land reduces erosion and provides wildlife habitat. But livestock producers have pushed for the land reserve to be cut, in order to increase crop production and potentially reduce the cost of feed.

The USDA was given the authority to operate five disaster assistance programs in the 2008 Farm Bill, but the authority expired on Sept. 30, 2011. The relief to be announced on Wednesday will be made to existing USDA programs. Vilsack has urged Congress to pass a new farm law to restore the department’s disaster assistance authority.

“Letters like the one from Thune; we are seeing letters like that from other folks asking what can we do to provide assistance,” said Matt Herrick, a spokesman for the USDA.”I think the message is that the secretary is looking to provide assistance to producers using existing authority.”

The Midwest in particular has been ravaged recently by record-breaking 100°-plus temperatures and widespread drought conditions that have hurt hay output for livestock producers and threaten to affect the country’s massive corn crop.

“We’re hearing that the second crop cuttings of hay have been very meager and with corn prices moving 40% to 45 % higher in the last month, clearly the cost of maintaining livestock has skyrocketed,” said Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau. “We’re happy to see the action” from USDA,” he said.

The USDA said on Monday the percentage of the country’s corn crop rated good to excellent fell from 48% a week ago to 40% through Sunday as a week of 100° temperatures and no rainfall took its toll. Corn rated poor and very poor totaled 18% in Iowa and 48% in Illinois, the top two U.S. producers.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Management Stories

ManagementTrip Report, PSM R.I.P, and Ag’s Reaction to Federal Budget
May 25, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent travels, the end for Process Safety Management (PSM), and how Read More
Corn soil
LegislationARA Member Testifies Before Senate Ag Committee
May 25, 2017
Agricultural retailers stand on the front-lines of the American economy. As trusted advisors to America’s farmers, ag retailers are uniquely Read More
ManagementFarm Market iD’s Agriculture Database Now Covers More Than One Billion Acres
May 25, 2017
Farm Market iD, farmmarketid.com, has announced the release of its 2017 Annual Update of its farm and land database. The Read More
ManagementPrecision Planting Deal, China Developments, and Environmental Respect
May 18, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the latest news on John Deere’s now dead deal for Precision Planting, China’s Read More
Trending Articles
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
ManagementWashington Update, Dow-DuPont Earnings, and the Passing of an AGCO Legend
April 27, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the latest Beltway news, crop protection company 1st quarter numbers, and the Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Latest News
ManagementTrip Report, PSM R.I.P, and Ag’s Reaction to Federal Bu…
May 25, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent travels, the end for Process Safety Management (PSM), and how Read More
Corn soil
LegislationARA Member Testifies Before Senate Ag Committee
May 25, 2017
Agricultural retailers stand on the front-lines of the American economy. As trusted advisors to America’s farmers, ag retailers are uniquely Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsFortenza Insecticide Seed Treatment Receives EPA Regist…
May 25, 2017
Fortenza seed treatment insecticide from Syngenta has received registration approval from the U.S. EPA for use on corn and cotton Read More
ManagementFarm Market iD’s Agriculture Database Now Covers More T…
May 25, 2017
Farm Market iD, farmmarketid.com, has announced the release of its 2017 Annual Update of its farm and land database. The Read More
Food IT Fork-to-Farm
Precision AgThe Mixing Bowl Event Connects Technology, Food, and Ag…
May 24, 2017
For the fourth consecutive year, The Mixing Bowl presents FOOD IT, under the theme “Fork to Farm.” Action-oriented entrepreneurs, industry Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Seed/BiotechKansas State University Researchers Find New Pathogens …
May 24, 2017
A single seed seems so simple. Put it in the ground, give it some care, and you’ve soon grown food. Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesNew Dicamba Herbicide Premix Coming Soon from Syngenta
May 24, 2017
Syngenta has announced the name of its new herbicide featuring the active ingredients of S-metolachlor and dicamba. Upon registration by Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Launches New Seed Treatment Fungicide
May 22, 2017
Syngenta has announced the launch of PLENARIS seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. PLENARIS contains Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Appro…
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
ManagementPrecision Planting Deal, China Developments, and Enviro…
May 18, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the latest news on John Deere’s now dead deal for Precision Planting, China’s Read More
Soybean aphid leaf
InsecticidesMulti-state Research Reveals IPM Best Option for Treatm…
May 17, 2017
About 89.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted across the U.S. in 2017 — a record high, according to Read More
GROWMARK-2017-Interns
CropLife 100GROWMARK Names 2017 Summer Interns
May 16, 2017
Forty-two college students are exploring agricultural career opportunities this summer as GROWMARK interns. They are working at FS member cooperatives Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Ag…
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
FertilizerBoth Wet and Dry Conditions Threaten Nitrogen Loss
May 15, 2017
The weather is notoriously unpredictable, leading to challenges for planting, harvesting and applying the nitrogen (N) your corn crop needs. Read More
farmer Kip Tom
Precision AgAg Tech: On the Cusp of Something Big?
May 15, 2017
The investment and ag-tech sectors’ continuing courtship of agriculture, smoldering for three or four years now, was well in evidence at Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
ManagementOpinion: Shaking Your Perspective in Ag Retail
May 12, 2017
Some of you I’m sure have encountered our recently retired salesman extraordinaire, Dan Bellanger. He worked in the industry for Read More