Mark Udall welcomed the U.S. Department of Agriculture's announcement today that it has made farmers and ranchers eligible for drought assistance in 43 counties in southern Colorado, the Western Slope and across the Front Range. Udall said the ongoing severe drought shows why Congress needs to pass a five-year Farm Bill and renew critical drought-assistance programs as soon as possible.
"Colorado and the West are experiencing one of the most severe droughts on record. This ongoing drought threatens our agricultural economy and farm jobs throughout the state," Udall said. "This drought is a reminder of why Congress needs an up-to-date, long-term Farm Bill, and not the extension we are stuck with for the next nine months. I continue to question why the U.S. House of Representatives did not pass the bipartisan, deficit-reducing Farm Bill the Senate approved last year. We need to act -- and soon -- on a new Farm Bill that strengthens farmers and ranchers' hands as they confront this ongoing drought."
Agricultural producers in the following counties are eligible for Farm Service Agency assistance to deal with the ongoing drought: Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Baca, Bent, Boulder, Broomfield, Chaffee, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Elbert, El Paso, Fremont, Gunnison, Huerfano, Jefferson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lake, Larimer, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Otero, Park, Phillips, Pitkin, Prowers, Pueblo, Saguache, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, Washington, Weld and Yuma.
To learn more about how to apply for assistance, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website or contact your local Farm Service Agency office.
Udall has been a strong advocate of ensuring that Colorado farmers and rancher facing drought receive the assistance they need. He also has been an avid supporter of giving agricultural producers the certainty they need to create jobs and grow by passing a five-year Farm Bill extension.
Udall led the fight last year to strengthen the 2012 Farm Bill's forestry title, including adding provisions to increase funding for bark beetle mitigation, doubling the annual mitigation funding from $100 million to $200 million. The amendment, which encouraged public-private sector partnerships, built on a multi-year effort to strengthen federal capabilities to address the ongoing beetle epidemic in Western forests.