In response to severe heat and rainfall shortages across large areas of the state which are afflicting much of Ohio's agriculture industry, today Governor John R. Kasich signed Executive Order 2012-11K instructing state agencies to help farmers reduce the negative impacts of the drought and to seek federal assistance.
As part of Kasich's order, Ohio will urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to give Ohio farmers access to drought-related federal assistance such as emergency low-interest loans for crop losses, relief payments for non-insurable losses, the temporary deferral of payments on federal loans and permission to cut hay for livestock from acreage otherwise set aside for conservation.
Additionally, Kasich's order: Instructs the Ohio Department of Agriculture to educate farmers on the adverse impacts of drought conditions and how best to mitigate them, as well as to conduct a series of regional drought education meetings to discuss forage management, water availability, heat stress on livestock and mitigation strategies; Instructs the Ohio Department of Agriculture to create a website to inform farmers of where they can find hay to purchase for their livestock; Allows the Ohio Department of Transportation to grant permits for farmers cut hay for livestock they own from highway rights-of-way if their land is adjacent and it can be done safely;
"Farmers are the foundation of Ohio's $105 billion food and agriculture industry and taking steps to help them through this hot, dry weather is essential to their survival. We need to be taking the right steps so they don't suffer devastating losses or aren't forced to abandon their fields or herds. It's in all Ohioans' best interests for our hard-hit farmers to be able to come back next year and these measures can help make that happen," said Kasich.