Mark Udall thanked the president for working to quickly develop and implement a series of new executive branch policies today aimed at helping farmers and ranchers afflicted by the ongoing, devastating drought.
"These policies will bring some relief to Coloradans coping with our nation's ongoing severe drought. I am glad to see President Obama leverage the full might of the federal government to help Colorado's farmers and ranchers weather this exceptionally severe drought," Udall said. "Although this is a start, the severity of the drought underlines why the U.S. House of Representatives needs to pass the 2012 Farm Bill, which has received bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committee. We need to provide long-term, sustainable relief to the farmers and ranchers who comprise America's breadbasket."
Nearly $16 million in financial and technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to immediately help crop and livestock producers cope with the adverse impacts of the historic drought.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture transferring $14 million in unobligated program funds into the Emergency Conservation Program to assist in moving water to livestock in need, providing emergency forage for livestock, and rehabilitating lands severely impacted by the drought.
The National Credit Union Administration making 1,000 credit unions eligible for a low-income designation, which permits unlimited lending to small-business owners including farmers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture allowing farmers to apply this year's crop indemnity payments toward their crop insurance premiums for the following crop year. As of this month, the 16 major providers of crop insurance have all agreed to forego interest charges on unpaid premiums through November.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture lowering the interest rate on its emergency loans, which help producers recover from production and physical losses associated with natural disasters, from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent.
Udall has been an ardent supporter of providing relief to farmers and ranchers affected by this year's severe drought. Earlier this month, Udall signed a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging him to convene an Interagency Drought Task Force to address the impacts of drought. Udall also has urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the 2012 Farm Bill, which contains drought-relief provisions for Colorado's farmers and ranchers.