President Obama devotes weekly address to drought, farm bill

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, August 11, 2012 - President Barack Obama devoted his weekly address to focus on the drought crippling farmers across the heartland and to what he described as an “all-hands-on-deck response” from his administration.

The President noted that Americans are suffering through one of the worst droughts in over 50 years.

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“More than a fifth of this country is experiencing what we call “extreme” or “exceptional” drought - with states like Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas getting hit harder than most.

That's bad news for a lot of people, but it's especially tough on our farmers. Right now, half of the corn crop in America is in poor or very poor condition. Cattle farmers are struggling to feed their animals. Many folks are seeing their livelihoods dry up in front of their eyes. And if we don't get relief soon, Americans everywhere will start feeling the pinch, with higher prices on grocery store shelves all across the country.

Obama outlined a number of steps that his administration was delivering to help with the drought, including giving famrers in 32 states access to low-interest emergency loans.

“We've opened up more federal land for grazing. And we're working with crop insurance companies to give farmers a short grace period on their premiums, since some families will be struggling to make ends meet at the end of the year.

“This past week, we went even further - announcing an additional $30 million to help get more water to livestock and restore land affected by the drought. We're making it easier for even more farmers, ranchers and businesses to get emergency loans.

But the president also used his weekly address to spur members of Congress to pass a new five-year farm bill, encouraging citizens to contact lawmakers and tell thme it's time to “get this done.”

“Congress needs to do its part, too. They need to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers and ranchers respond to these kinds of disasters, but also makes necessary reforms and gives them some certainty year-round. That's the single best way we can help rural communities right now, and also in the long-term.”

For a transcript of the whole speech, click:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/11/weekly-address-all-hands-deck-response-drought

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