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
ManagementMACA 2014: The State Of The Agricultural Industry, And Then Some
October 9, 2014
The trade association’s annual gathering featured speakers from across agriculture and beyond. Read More
StewardshipA Multi-Layered Approach To Water Quality
October 6, 2014
Illinois event highlights research and technology designed to better monitor and improve water quality — and the benefits of cooperative, coordinated effort. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
ManagementRussia Bans U.S. And EU Ag Product Imports In Ukraine Sanctions Battle
August 7, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
Latest News
Waterhemp in soybean stubble
HerbicidesEPA Signs Off On Monsanto’s Warrant Ultra Premix
May 27, 2015
Soybean and cotton growers looking for new tools to manage weeds will have a new, first-of-its-kind option in 2016 with Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesSTUDY: Weed Diversity Primarily Influenced By Geography
May 27, 2015
The potential long-term impacts of glyphosate-resistant crops on biodiversity of the agricultural landscape have been the subject of controversy. A Read More
Seed/BiotechAgrilead Forms Distribution Alliance With Kansas-Based …
May 27, 2015
Agrilead, Inc. announces the formation of a strategic alliance with KALO, Inc. of Overland Park, KS. Through the alliance, KALO Read More
EquipmentPrecision Tank Announces A&B Welding Acquisition
May 27, 2015
Precision Tank, a specialized tank and equipment manufacturer, announced today the acquisition of A&B Welding of Thompson, IA, a manufacturer Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementTraining Program Gives First Responders Skills For Grai…
May 27, 2015
When stored grain forms hard bridges, columns and other irregularities, those working to correct it find themselves at risk of Read More
Industry NewsBASF Sponsors Space Farming Research Project
May 26, 2015
Is it possible to produce large quantities of high quality vegetables on a space station, about 320 kilometers away from Read More
FertilizerTexas Ammonium Nitrate Bill Passes Senate, Heads To Gov…
May 26, 2015
The Texas State Senate gave final approval last Thursday to new regulations for ammonium nitrate, reports The Dallas Morning News Read More
Young corn plants
Industry NewsArysta Europe Details New Organizational Structure
May 26, 2015
Arysta LifeScience Europe recently announced a new organizational structure to leverage its scale and accelerate the company’s growth in this Read More
Syngenta Sign
Eric SfiligojMonsanto-Syngenta Could Hinge On A Judgment Of Solomon …
May 26, 2015
In the bible, the reputation of King Solomon’s wisdom in matters of despite comes from a tale of one child Read More
ManagementA New Sprayer Company & UAV Research In The Spotlig…
May 21, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a Dutch sprayer manufacturer entering the U.S. with a super-sized entry and Read More
HerbicidesFirst U.S. Sale Of Enlist Duo Herbicide Made By Dow Agr…
May 21, 2015
Dow AgroSciences has recorded the first U.S. sale of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. This marks the first commercial Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manu…
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
EquipmentNORAC Options Coming To TerraGator
May 19, 2015
Utilizing NORAC’s Standard Control technology, boom height control is now available for TerraGators with Airmax Precision 2 and Benson Booms. This Read More
Crop InputsHelena Introduces New Soil Health Product
May 19, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency with the introduction of Liquid Chisel, a new product Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Management Planning Certification Now Avail…
May 19, 2015
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program announce a new specialty certification in Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
May 19, 2015
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Syngenta Sign
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Lawyer’s Victory Claim In Vi…
May 18, 2015
A plaintiff’s lawyer has issued a public statement claiming that damages have been awarded in the Agrisure Viptera corn lawsuits Read More