Mark Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for federal assistance for Colorado farmers and ranchers, who are facing severe drought conditions that are threatening crops, livestock and rural livelihoods. The senators voiced concerns from Colorado agricultural producers to protect against severe financial and operational losses.
"As producers continue to operate under what the U.S. Drought Monitor has found to be extreme drought conditions in much of the state, it is critical that we deploy the resources necessary that might minimize the damages from this looming threat," the senators wrote, calling for all available resources to address this growing threat to Colorado's agricultural community.
The USDA has previously declared disaster designations on Colorado counties in order to help people affected by ongoing drought conditions. Under disaster designations, agricultural producers become eligible for financial help to offset losses due to the drought through Farm Service Agency emergency loans and USDA conservation programs. The USDA can offer disaster assistance following a declaration from the governor.
Read the full text below:
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
I write to urge you to use all available resources at your disposal to assist farmers and ranchers that are currently facing drought conditions in Colorado.
As you may know, Colorado agricultural producers throughout the state have been experiencing drought conditions for the past several months. As producers continue to operate under what the U.S. Drought Monitor has found to be extreme drought conditions in much of the state, it is critical that we deploy the resources necessary that might minimize the damages from this looming threat.
Recently the Colorado Farm Bureau outlined in a letter to the Governor of Colorado that farmers "are facing massive crop failure, with many ranchers already beginning the task of having to feed hay to livestock." Many share the concerns expressed by the Farm Bureau; and though I understand that much of your authority to act may rest on a request from the State of Colorado, I find it imperative to convey the immediate threat that drought conditions have created for Colorado's farmers and ranchers.
I urge you to employ all the resources at your disposal within the bounds of all relevant laws and regulations to address this growing threat to Colorado's agricultural community and economy.
Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet