Dear Secretary Vilsack:
This year has been dry throughout the Midwest, including our state of Indiana. Without significant rainfall, conditions will continue to be difficult for Indiana's farmers. As of today, 40 percent of our state has crossed the line into an official drought and many counties have progressed to a "severe drought". Both soybean and corn fields are showing major signs of stress and the crops are suffering immensely, as well as the farm animals that rely on this land. Lower yields also mean higher commodity prices, which in turn could mean higher food prices this winter, not just for corn and other produce, but for the animals that feed on corn, such as hogs, cattle and chickens. It is very clear that the drought has taken its toll on Indiana agriculture.
We urge you to promptly consider a request to authorize emergency haying and grazing of all conservation reserve program land also including haying of filter and border strips in all counties that meet the appropriate drought conditions and to give prompt consideration to future requests. This authority can help provide producers another option as they seek to provide adequate hay and forage to their animals during this dry season.
Thank you for your consideration.
Congressman Todd Rokita Congressman Larry Bucshon
Congressman Joe Donnelly Congressman Mike Pence