USDA Offers Steps Toward Drought Resistance
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture drought still covers 62 percent of the nation. Recent storms are taking the edge off, but there's still a ways to go to catch up on lost precipitation.
In Washington, Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, announced recently several new actions to help producers effected by drought conditions.
First, on a long term basis, is a new information sharing and cooperation agreement between the USDA and the National Weather Service.
"It will enable us to have better early detection and rapid response to impending drought," Vilsack says.
Second is a new pilot program in Kansas and Colorado aimed at producers who have ponds with a lot of sediment that's built up over the years.
"They couldn't go in and remove that sediment and increase the storage capacities of those ponds. So, we're announcing the availability of equipment resources in those two states, that will allow them to remove that sediment and enhance storage opportunities."
On a short term basis, Vilsack is making available $16 million to go to farmers through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program for additional water and soil conservation practices tied to the drought.