WA & OR CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS CALL ON USDA TO PROVIDE RELIEF
Members of the Washington and Oregon delegation took the lead on a letter, sent this week to Secretary of Ag Vilsack, urging USDA to provide new aid to producers in Washington and Oregon, two states slammed by intense heat and drought this summer. The lawmakers also ask that USDA offer guidance as quickly as possible on what documentation farmers need to provide to get assistance.
The record-breaking extreme heat, drought, low soil moisture and wildfires the Pacific Northwest experienced this summer caused damage to food products- ranging from scorched fruit to damaged berries to increased shellfish mortality- that were either produced in counties not covered by official drought designations, experienced losses not covered by drought assistance programs or both, as the lawmakers note.
Background: Congress approved $10 billion to cover qualifying crop losses experienced by producers as a part of the continuing resolution, which was passed to prevent a government shut down at the start of the month. The bill provides new flexibility in the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus authorization, including coverage for losses related to excessive heat and smoke exposure for wine grapes, as well as crop quality loss and damage to on-farm stored commodities.