10/26/2012 4:27:00 PM Klobuchar, Franken, Peterson Announce USDA Disaster Declaration for Minnesota Counties Affected by Ongoing Drought
WASHINGTON, D.C. [10/26/12] - Today, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a disaster declaration for counties in Minnesota affected by the ongoing drought. This declaration means that farmers in these counties are now eligible for emergency loan assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to help cover crop or livestock losses.
"This drought continues to affect Minnesota, putting a strain on our farmers' and ranchers' livelihoods," Klobuchar said. "This action is another important step in helping our producers get through these challenging times, and I will continue to fight to move forward the 5-year Farm Bill that the Senate passed in June, which includes critical drought relief programs to support Minnesota's farmers and ranchers."
"This year's drought has caused producers all over Minnesota to lose crops and livestock, and this declaration will help them get back on their feet," said Sen. Franken. "Drought is just one of the risks farmers face every year, and that's why the House of Representatives needs to pass the Senate's Farm Bill and give our farmers the stability they need to plan for next year."
"This disaster declaration will provide some relief to Minnesota farmers affected by severe drought," said Rep. Peterson. "A strong safety net is necessary to providing the support and certainty farmers need during difficult times. This is why passing a five-year farm bill should be at the top of the Congressional agenda when we reconvene in November."
The declaration designates Big Stone, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Swift, and Wright counties as primary disaster areas. Anoka, Benton, Carver, Douglas, Grant, Hennepin, Isanti, Lac Qui Parle, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Renville, Sibley, Stevens, Todd, Traverse, and Yellow Medicine counties have also been designated as contiguous disaster counties.
Earlier this summer, Senators Klobuchar and Franken sent President Obama a letter urging a coordinated and immediate response to the drought. In the letter, the Senators called on the President to quickly form an Interagency Drought Task Force to bring together officials from every federal agency to coordinate responses and help provide relief to those affected by the drought.