Aderholt Seeks Relief for Alabama Farmers Hit by Drought: Additional Emergency Funds Needed to Provide Relief from Worst Drought in Decades
July 19, 2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After an extended debate during a House Appropriations Committee markup, U.S. Representatives Robert Aderholt (Ala.-04) and Bud Cramer (Ala.-05) received a commitment from Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Rosa DeLauro that she would work in the upcoming emergency supplemental to assist Alabama farmers suffering from exceptional drought.
Today’s commitment resulted from ongoing discussion by Representatives Aderholt, Cramer, and DeLauro regarding relief for communities designated by the Secretary of Agriculture suffering from a D-4 drought. A D-4 or “exceptional” drought is the highest possible drought classification.
“This is one of the worst droughts in our nation’s history and farmers across the country are counting on us to provide relief,” said Cramer. “My district is in the bullseye of the drought, and many of them are expecting a near loss of their total crops. It is critical that we provide farmers in North Alabama the relief they need to keep families in the farming business and keep American agriculture the strongest in the world.”
Aderholt added, “While the federal government has provided some relief in the form of low interest loans, the farmers I’ve spoken with say this isn’t enough and additionally we’ve found that not all those affected by the drought qualify. There is also the issue of how quickly this aid will get to them. Time is critical to save pastures and livestock in the areas that have been hit hardest by this record drought.”
Over the past several months, Congressman Aderholt has been very active in providing federal assistance to Alabama farmers:
· Met with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns to discuss Alabama drought conditions leading to all 67 Alabama counties being declared disaster areas by Secretary Johanns.
· Led an effort by the Alabama Congressional Delegation to ask congressional appropriators to provide $10 million to Alabama through the Emergency Conservation program to rehabilitate drought ravaged pasture and drill additional wells to feed and water livestock. Also sought $7 million for Alabama through the Livestock Assistance Program.
· Has sought to extend disaster relief passed by Congress to include crop losses due to the April freeze in Alabama.
· Aderholt staff has held numerous discussions with the federal Farm Service Agency in Alabama to determine the extent of damage in North Alabama and work to assist area farmers.