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USDA Expands Assistance for Drought-Stricken States

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Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet praised an announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it would make available an additional $11.8 million in assistance to help crop and livestock producers apply conservation practices that reduce the impacts of drought and improve soil health and productivity.

"This summer, Colorado farmers and ranchers have experienced one of the worst droughts in decades, and it is hurting their bottom lines," Bennet said.

"The USDA's additional assistance will provide some relief for these hardworking Coloradans. But the best and quickest way that we can provide assistance to producers affected by the drought is to pass the Farm Bill. The Senate passed the bill with bipartisan support and I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to take up and pass the 2012 Farm Bill immediately."

The USDA's additional financial and technical drought assistance will go to 22 states experiencing extreme and exceptional drought and will be used to help address the backlog in applications from the previous drought assistance registration period, as well as to accept new applications from producers interested in applying for selected conservation practices to address drought.

Producers can also apply for financial assistance to re-install conservation practices that failed due to drought. The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides this assistance through its Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

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