Environmental Protection

USDA Expands Drought Assistance to 22 States

Since the start of summer, total assistance from the agency has amounted to nearly $28 million.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Sept. 19 announced $11.8 million in additional financial and technical assistance to help crop and livestock producers in 22 states apply conservation practices to reduce the impacts of drought and improve soil health and productivity. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service provides the assistance through its Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

This is the latest of several assistance moves announced this year by the agency, with the total assistance worth nearly $28 million, according to the department's announcement.

"As this drought continues to impact American farming and ranching families, USDA will be there to help our agriculture sector recover," said Vilsack. "This additional assistance builds on a number of steps USDA and other federal agencies have taken over the past few months to provide resources and flexibility in our existing programs to help producers endure these hardships. But Congress also needs to act, and the urgency to pass a comprehensive, multi-year food, farm, and jobs bill is greater than ever."

The additional NRCS drought assistance received by each state is shown here.

Exceptional drought persists in parts of Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming, which is causing losses of crops and pastures and water shortages, according to USDA, which says Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, and Utah are under extreme drought.

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