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Public Statements

Bishop Joins Georgia Delegation Calling for Drought Disaster Relief from USDA

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) this week joined members of the Georgia delegation in sending a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging him to designate 22 Georgia counties suffering from drought as Secretarial Disaster Areas. Farmers across Georgia have suffered major crop losses because of the extreme weather, and the Georgia USDA State Emergency Board recently listed which counties are suffering from extreme drought conditions according to the U.S. Drought Monitor as of June 2, 2011.

Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) joined Rep. Bishop, Rep. Jack Kingston (GA-01), Rep. John Barrow (GA-12), and Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08) in sending the letter to Secretary Vilsack. Farmers in Brooks, Colquitt, Lowndes and Thomas County would be eligible to apply for emergency loans and other assistance if the Secretary designates these counties as Secretarial Disaster Areas. In the letter, the members of the Georgia delegation wrote:

"Over the past several months numerous counties in Georgia have experienced extreme weather conditions. Georgia's agricultural producers continue to experience drought conditions that have kept many of them from putting any seed into the ground and have left our livestock producers struggling to secure adequate feedstocks.

"Although parts of Georgia have received rainfall over the past few weeks, as much as fifty-four percent of the State has been documented as suffering from Extreme Drought conditions by the U.S. Drought Monitor as of June 2, 2011."

"...Therefore, we would encourage you to review and designate any eligible counties as Secretarial Disaster Areas as expeditiously as possible. It is vitally important that eligible producers suffering from disaster are able to utilize any federal assistance that may help offset further losses this early in the 2011 crop year."

The full text of the letter is below.

June 9, 2011

The Honorable Tom Vilsack

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave., SW

Washington, DC 20250

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Over the past several months, numerous counties in Georgia have experienced extreme weather conditions. Georgia's agricultural producers continue to experience drought conditions that have kept many of them from putting any seed into the ground and have left our livestock producers struggling to secure adequate feedstocks.

Although parts of Georgia have received rainfall over the past few weeks, as much as 54 percent of the State has been documented as suffering from Extreme Drought conditions by the U.S. Drought Monitor as of June 2, 2011.

On June 3, 2011, the Honorable Nathan Deal, Governor of Georgia, sent a letter with a list of eligible counties as recommended by the Georgia USDA State Emergency Board. Therefore, we would encourage you to review and designate any eligible counties as Secretarial Disaster Areas as expeditiously as possible. It is vitally important that eligible producers suffering from disaster are able to utilize any federal assistance that may help offset further losses this early in the 2011 crop year.

We look forward to working with you throughout this process to ensure that eligible producers suffering from disaster are able to utilize any available federal assistance in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Sen. Saxby Chambliss

Sen. Johnny Isakson

Rep. Jack Kingston

Rep. Sanford Bishop

Rep. John Barrow

Rep. Austin Scott


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