Washington County, Idaho, designated primary natural disaster area due to drought

The designation also applies to contiguous counties Adams, Gem and Payette in Idaho, and Baker and Malheur in Oregon.
The emergency loans can be used to fund various recovery efforts including replacing essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganizing a farming operation or refinancing debts.
FSA will review applications based on the extent of losses, loan security the applicant has available, and repayment ability, the agency said in a news release.
FSA Idaho spokeswoman Polly Hoyt said the declaration was based on a U.S. Drought Monitor result of D2 (severe) for eight straight weeks.
It was not based on fire incidence, she said.
Other Drought Monitor classifications include D0 for abnormally dry, D1 for moderate, and D3 and D4 for extreme and exceptional, respectively.
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Christian County farmers eligible for drought assistance

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue designated 12 Missouri counties as primary natural disaster areas due to drought.
Producers in Audrain, Barry, Barton, Boone, Callaway, Cooper, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, Moniteau, Monroe and Newton counties who suffered losses due to recent drought may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.
Additionally, agricultural producers in counties contiguous to the 12 disaster area counties are also eligible for emergency loans.
This includes farmers in Christian County.
As of Aug. 28, the U.S. Drought monitor indicated that all of Christian County is in a case of “Severe Drought,” a drought status that has crept from west to east across the county map through the month of August.
This designation by Perdue allows the Farm Service Agency to extend emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters.
Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including replacing essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganizing a farming operation or refinance certain debts.

Farmers in central, south Iowa impacted by drought

PELLA, Iowa – After heavy rain early in the summer, farmers in parts of the state are now worried about a drought.. Those concerns match up with the latest Iowa crop progress and condition report.
Dennis Bogaards’ farm in Pella has seen better summers.
The lack of rain is really starting to affect his soybeans and corn.
Dennis says they’ve had just barely enough water to keep growing.
"The corn really doesn’t look too bad, if you go further south you’ll see that the corn starts to tip back and these kernels don’t develop," Bogaards said.
And it’s not just the corn.
The soybeans need a big drink of water too.
"It’s harder to see drought conditions right now in the soybeans.
"This is probably one that will come off of there pretty quick if it gets really hot and dry and it’s just a little one, but there’s two beans in there and if we can make those two beans on 140 thousand plants out here that makes a big difference in the yield," said Bogaards.
"We just gotta hope that mother nature gives us the rain that we need," Bogaards said.

Burgum meets with Cabinet officials on drought relief, more

Burgum meets with Cabinet officials on drought relief, more.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 7, 2017) – Gov.
Doug Burgum met today with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to advocate for drought relief and other North Dakota priorities, continuing to build on the collaborative relationship with Cabinet officials in the Trump administration.
Burgum thanked Perdue for recent actions taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help North Dakota farmers and ranchers hit hard by drought, including the release of Conservation Reserve Program acres for haying and grazing.
Today’s U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly half of North Dakota is still experiencing severe, extreme or exceptional drought conditions.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is currently considering the request.
Other issues discussed with Perdue included the importance of a strong crop insurance program in the next federal farm bill and the need for more accurate data when reporting crop conditions.
They also discussed the department’s important land, water and minerals management role, especially as it pertains to collaboration on tribal lands.
“We’re grateful for this administration’s ongoing willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue on topics important to all North Dakotans, and we look forward to working together to find solutions to current and future challenges,” Burgum said.
“With all of the natural disasters impacting U.S. cities, farms and forests, we know there’s huge demand for federal resources, and we deeply appreciate the assistance North Dakota has received as well as our congressional delegation’s ongoing work with FEMA and the agriculture secretary on the drought issue.”

Drought emergency declared in 19 Montana counties, 2 reservations

Drought emergency declared in 19 Montana counties, 2 reservations.
Parts of these counties have seen record low precipitation, high temperatures, and excessive wind in the last two months, state officials said.
These conditions rapidly deteriorated crop and forage viability after a winter of below average precipitation.
Crops such as oats, spring wheat, edible dry peas, and sugar beets are all suffering, officials said.
In addition, pasture and range conditions are poor to very poor, per the June 18 Crop Progress Report.
Ranchers reported extreme dust has made it difficult to keep track of all head, even during branding.
Bullock said farmers and ranchers from many eastern communities are feeling the impacts of drought conditions.
He said his administration is committed to making sure impacts are minimized and will continue to work closely with these communities to monitor conditions and provide further assistance.
Earlier Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program lands in Montana.

Thune, Rounds Urge USDA to Provide Timely Drought Assistance, Open CRP

Thune, Rounds Urge USDA to Provide Timely Drought Assistance, Open CRP.
Extreme drought conditions throughout the Northern Plains have led to a shortage of hay and pasture WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens.
John Thune (R-S.D.)
today urged U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Sonny Perdue to provide timely assistance to counties currently facing extreme drought conditions, and if drought conditions worsen, as expected, to be ready to provide expedited assistance to counties that will likely soon be in extreme drought conditions and eligible for assistance from the Livestock Forage Program (LFP).
In their letter to Perdue, Thune and Rounds also requested that Conservation Reserve Program acres be made available for emergency haying and grazing as soon as possible due to the substantial loss of grazing and forage for feed.
“Timely assistance is needed in order to preserve foundation grazing livestock herds in the drought-stricken areas of our state from further downsizing due to lack of feed and forage …
“In addition, we request that as counties are triggered for emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, that you make as many of the 977,555 CRP-enrolled acres in South Dakota available for haying and grazing due to the already realized substantial loss of grazing and forage for feed as soon as reasonably possible.” Counties are determined eligible for immediate assistance under the LFP as soon as any part of a county is at a D3 (extreme drought) category rating by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Several counties in South Dakota are currently rated D2 and are expected to be rated D3 in the near future.
More than 484,000 CRP-enrolled acres in South Dakota are considered “environmentally sensitive” by USDA, which does not normally allow these acres to be hayed or grazed under emergency conditions.
Thune and Rounds are requesting that the environmentally sensitive acres be opened for haying and grazing, as they were in 2012, and that haying and grazing be allowed in eligible counties beginning no later than July 15.

President Trump, ethanol is bad for your voters

President Trump, ethanol is bad for your voters.
"And we’re going to work for new technologies to be more efficient."
Perdue made the announcement flanked by two Republican Iowa lawmakers, wearing a pin that could take the award for best or most obscure special-interest lobbying swag.
It read, "Don’t mess with the RFS," referring to the federal requirement that the nation’s gasoline supply be diluted with massive amounts of ethanol — 19.3 billion gallons of the stuff annually.
In 2007, as governor of Georgia, he dumped $6 million into a company that claimed it could economically produce the fuel from wood chips.
The company quickly consumed the taxpayers’ funds and went out of business in 2011.
Despite his support for the ethanol lobby on the campaign trail, Trump had shown at least a few signs that he might be willing to derail the ethanol gravy train.
He chose an EPA administrator who had previously sued the EPA over the ethanol mandate.
Its mass production (40 percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is for ethanol) causes more water pollution and increases carbon emissions.
Last year’s election should have demonstrated that the ethanol industry is a paper tiger.

More than 100 million dead trees in California from drought

More than 100 million dead trees in California from drought.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service officials are seriously hampered not only by short-term budgets passed by Congress, but also a broken budget for the Forest Service that sees an increasing amount of resources going to firefighting while less is invested in restoration and forest health, said Vilsack.
"These dead and dying trees continue to elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate our efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires when they do occur, and pose a host of threats to life and property across California," said Vilsack.
Five consecutive years of severe drought in California, a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and warmer temperatures are leading to these historic levels of tree die-off.
Longer, hotter fire seasons where extreme fire behavior has become the new norm, as well as increased development in forested areas, is dramatically driving up the cost of fighting fires and squeezing funding for the very efforts that would protect watersheds and restore forests to make them more resilient to fire.
As the situation in the southeast demonstrates, the problem of shrinking budget capacity is felt across the U.S., not only in the western states.
The health of our forests and landscapes are at risk across the nation, and the tree mortality crisis could be better addressed if not for the increasing percentage of the Forest Service budget going to fight wildfire.
"More than 100 million dead trees in California from drought."
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"More than 100 million dead trees in California from drought."