Congressman Dave Loebsack is visiting four farms in Appanoose, Davis, Lee and Wayne counties today to see firsthand the impact the recent drought has had on crops and livestock. Loebsack is touring the farms with local FSA officials to meet with farmers, community members and representatives from the Farm Bureau. During the tour, Loebsack also announced that he will introduce legislation on Monday to extend agriculture disaster programs created by the previous farm bill through 2012. The Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act will help our farmers and livestock producers with drought losses beyond insurance until a new farm bill is signed into law.
“We must move quickly to ensure farmers and livestock producers have a safety net as drought and heat conditions persist throughout many critical agricultural and livestock producing areas,” said Loebsack. “My legislation will extend agriculture disaster assistance and is intended to help our farmers and livestock producers with drought losses beyond insurance until a new farm bill is signed into law.”
Loebsack also called on Congress to remain in session until this, job creation and other important issues are dealt with.
“In light of seeing firsthand the devastation already caused by the drought, I am more convinced than ever that Congress must stay in session until a farm bill is passed so our farmers can have comfort that this disaster will be fully addressed. In less than two weeks, Congress will break for five weeks. Just because Congress isn’t voting does not mean the needs of Iowans will go away. I have previously called for Congress to work every day until Iowans have some confidence that Congress is working in their best interest. Taking off for an entire month will only make things worse and does nothing to create jobs, boost the economy, or help drought-stricken farms.”
Earlier this week, Loebsack joined a bipartisan group of 79 lawmakers in calling on House leadership to bring a Farm bill to the floor before it expires on September 30th. In addition, Loebsack urged Speaker of the House John Boehner and the leader of the House Agriculture Committee to address the expiration of critical USDA disaster relief programs when the Farm Bill is brought to the floor. Loebsack has also asked the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to determine whether or not he has the authority to extend the SURE program or the Livestock Indemnity Program for 2012 if Congress is unable to complete a reauthorization of the farm bill. He also urged the USDA to consider emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program land in Iowa when appropriate.
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