TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman sent a letter to all U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) county executive directors in the state of Kansas urging them to evaluate drought conditions and pledging the agency’s readiness and willingness to work with all Kansas counties to help farmers and ranchers cope with the drought, extreme heat and excessive wind.
According to the letter, early and expeditious planning can work to help agricultural producers have access to resources and assistance made available through federal disaster designations.
There are multiple steps that must first occur before a county can receive a disaster designation. First, the county emergency board must meet and submit a disaster designation request to the state emergency board. Next, if the state emergency board agrees a disaster designation is warranted, the request is sent to the governor. The governor then makes the official request to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
If the governor’s request is granted, that county and all contiguous counties are eligible for USDA-FSA emergency loans and for the USDA-FSA Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE). According to the letter, the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Gov. Sam Brownback are ready to work with the counties to request federal disaster designations.
“We urge you to take all steps necessary to expedite evaluation of crop conditions, soil moisture and precipitation levels in your county and ask your county board to continuously monitor the situation on the ground,” penned Secretary Rodman. “The state of Kansas relies on you for timely and accurate information about the ongoing drought across the state.”
Gov. Brownback updated the state drought declarations, moving 36 Kansas counties to a drought emergency status, 55 to the drought warning status and 14 to the drought watch status. Additionally, as of June 29, 2012, Ellis, Graham, Lane, Trego, Osborne, Rooks and Wallace counties in Kansas were approved for emergency grazing of land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. Rodman said his agency relies on information directly from the counties to help provide assistance and make available the resources agricultural producers need to manage crop losses and impacts on livestock.