Ag secretary announces more measures to help farmers with drought

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Farmers suffering from drought now have access to conservation land for haying and grazing, and will have longer to pay insurance premiums, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday.

Emergency haying and grazing will now be allowed on approximately 3.8 million acres of conservation land to bring greater relief to livestock producers dealing with shortages of hay and pastureland, according to a USDA news release.

Crop insurance companies have also agreed to provide a grace period for farmers on insurance premiums in 2012. Vilsack requested this extension last week. Farmers now have an extra 30 days to make payments without incurring interest penalties on unpaid premiums.

Vilsack signed disaster designations for an additional 218 counties in 12 states Wednesday as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.

Counties designated Wednesday are in the states of Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming.

More than half of all counties in the United States have been designated disaster areas by USDA in 2012, mainly due to drought, including all of Southeast Missouri.

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