Congressman Rick Berg today announced the passage of H.R. 6233, the Agriculture Assistance Act of 2012. This legislation provides assistance to farmers and ranchers across the country affected by the recent drought.
"While I am pleased that we were able to provide relief to North Dakota farmers and ranchers, we must not forget the only reason this legislation is necessary is because House Leadership hasn't acted on a full Farm Bill," stated Berg. "I won't sit back and watch our farmers and ranchers suffer while Washington plays political games. However, the fact remains that passing piecemeal components of what is already included in the actual Farm Bill that House Leadership has not yet acted on is not the answer. The time for the Farm Bill is now."
H.R. 6233 would reauthorize expired emergency disaster programs for livestock ranchers, as well as fish, tree, honey bee and nursery plant producers for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. The aid would be available for losses incurred from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2013, as a result of disaster, adverse weather or other environmental conditions.
The Midwest is in the grips of the worst drought in at least a quarter of a century. Nearly two-thirds of the nine-state Midwest region, including North Dakota, was in some stage of drought in the reporting week that ended July 10, up from just over 50 percent a week earlier, according to the Drought Monitor, a weekly report on drought throughout the country compiled by U.S. climate experts.
The Agriculture Assistance Act of 2012 passed the House by a vote of 223 to 197. It will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.
Berg subsequently voted against a motion for Congress to adjourn for the August recess. In opposing that measure, Berg explained that he does not believe that the House should leave Washington without the passage of a Farm Bill.