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

LegislationUSDA: Quick Implementation Of Disaster Assistance Programs A ‘Top Priority’
July 9, 2014
USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between Oct. 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Read More
LegislationTFI Praises White House For Signing WRRDA Into Law
June 11, 2014
The bill streamlines U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, prioritizes authorized waterway improvements and provides needed adjustments to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementAllied Cooperative, Arcadia Co-op Plan Merger
June 10, 2014
The Board of Directors of Allied Cooperative and Arcadia Co-op recently signed a letter of intent for a merger between the two cooperatives. Read More
EmployeesSyngenta: ‘Take Charge’ Of Farm Safety
June 4, 2014
Syngenta and health officials warn of four health-related challenges in agriculture and how they can be managed. Read More

Trending Articles

Green Valley Ag facility
Retail FacilitiesGreen Valley Ag Adopts A.J. Sackett’s Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology At New Facility
July 8, 2014
Sackett's Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology is making huge strides around the world. Green Valley Ag adopts the technology at its new facility to support its advancing agronomic needs. Read More
Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More

Latest News

StewardshipMonsanto Joins Panel Of Innovators To Advance Research …
July 30, 2014
Monsanto Co. and The Climate Corp., its division, recently joined a roundtable of experts at the White House to share ideas and research approaches to help the world’s farmers manage and adapt to the impact of climate change on the global food supply. Read More
Crop InputsSoybean Checkoff Produces Big ROI
July 30, 2014
Under the soy checkoff program, all U.S. soybean farmers contribute a small percentage of their gross soybean sales for research and marketing projects that maximize their profit potential. Read More
CropLife 100Learfield Sports, CHS Agree To Football-Centric, Colleg…
July 30, 2014
CHS Inc. will embark on a highly integrated collegiate sports sponsorship platform with 24 Division I universities in 19 states designed to reach the farmer-owned cooperative's rural owners and customers. Read More
LegislationUSDA Implements Key Farm Bill Crop Insurance Provision
July 30, 2014
The new Supplemental Coverage Option, available through the federal crop insurance program and set to begin with the 2015 crop year, is designed to help protect producers from yield and market volatility. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Forms New Organizational Structure For Its…
July 30, 2014
The new structure will provide more responsive internal support and will allow regional vice presidents and area managers to spend more time with customers, on talent development and on operational excellence across branches. Read More
Palmer pigweed in cotton
HerbicidesNew Training Modules On Herbicide Resistance Now Availa…
July 30, 2014
The Weed Science Society of America has announced the availability of three new education modules on herbicide resistance in weeds. Read More
HerbicidesWillowood To Market Glufosinate
July 28, 2014
Willowood USA recently announced that Federal EPA has approved its technical registration for glufosinate. Read More
InsecticidesHow To Scout For Corn Earworms In Corn
July 28, 2014
In her weekly report, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist Jill Scheidt discusses what to look for when scouting for corn earworm. Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer, Weyerhaeuser Enter Technology License A…
July 28, 2014
The agreement brings together agricultural and forestry know-how to sustainably improve crop productivity for corn growers around the world. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Launches Global iPad App
July 28, 2014
The free AGCO Global iPad App can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store and features the full family of RoGator self-propelled sprayers and TerraGator high-floatation spreaders. Read More
Eric SfiligojYuma Centennial Ag Supply Earns 2014 National Environme…
July 28, 2014
Colorado-based ag retailer receives top trophy in 24th annual DuPont Crop Protection/CropLife ceremony. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More