Drought

Short of any government sanctioned rain dances, efforts are underway to address the nation’s severe drought epidemic with the announcement earlier this week from the Obama administration that the government will buy $170 million worth of meat, poultry and fish to help support the nation’s struggling farmers.

Two-thirds of the contiguous United States is now facing extreme drought situations, hitting the nation’s farmers and ranchers hardest in the Midwest and Southern states.

The USDA recently opened up nearly 4 million acres of conservation land for hay use and grazing to help farmers feed their livestock.  And announced earlier this week, the USDA said it would purchase pork, lamb, chicken and catfish from the destitute farmers for use in food nutrition assistance programs including food banks.

Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin—who was recently announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election campaign—was the subject of criticism from President Obama for his choice to block a farm bill that was intended to help farmers in states including drought-stricken Iowa. Obama is seeking approval from Congress for short-term relief measure that would provide additional support to the ranchers and farmers battling against the worst U.S. drought in more than 50 years.

Governors Martin Joseph O’Malley (D-MD) and Jack A. Markell (D-DE) also recently pressured the Obama administration to relax requirements on using corn ethanol in gasoline. The corn could help to feed livestock in light of the food shortages as a result of the drought, the governors said.

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Image: beleobus