US Senator Kay R. Hagan spoke on the Senate floor about the urgent need to pass a supplemental funding bill to ensure the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has the resources to assist storm-ravaged communities in North Carolina:
“I’m also focused on the assistance that our farmers desperately need. Our agriculture industry took a hit, probably to the tune of $400 million, it’s a $78 billion industry in North Carolina, and with the economy like it is now, our farmers in our state absolutely cannot afford a blow like this one. So, I’m looking to ensure that assistance from USDA be expedited and delivered in a timely manner.”
La Nina Has Returned
La Niña has returned. That’s according to the National Weather Service. USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey says that’s exactly what the southern U.S. doesn’t need. The weather phenomenon has been the cause of months of drought in Texas and Oklahoma and drier than normal conditions stretching from the Southwest to the southern Atlantic Coast:
“All indications are that with the return of La Nina that Texas is for another warmer and dryer winter than usual, the most dramatic impacts of a La Nina are typically felt across the south from October to April.”
Of course this year the grip of La Niña carried through the summer - bringing record drought, high temperatures and significant crop and livestock damage to states like Texas and Oklahoma.
China New Destination for VA Soybeans
A company that operates an export terminal in Chesapeake has reached an agreement to send soybeans to China, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday that the agreement between Perdue Agribusiness and the Dandong Port Group has the potential to make China the state's top agricultural export recipient.
Audit Hearings Prep Lawmakers for Future Farm Policy Decisions
The House Agriculture Committee started a series of farm program audits back in June. Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says 11 of these hearings have been held to determine spending trends and confirm the efficacy and efficiency of each program. He says they provided committee members with a snapshot of how USDA is spending taxpayer dollars to support American agriculture:
“We’ve looked for ways to increase efficiency and reduce spending in every aspect in farm policy; from commodity support to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. We’ve collected 19 questionnaires with detailed information on USDA programs and heard from 22 separate testimonies from USDA officials. We have not shied away from difficult questions, we have pressed the administration on ways to eliminate redundant programs and improve service to our farmers and ranchers.”
Lucas says the information gathered through the audit process will be useful as the Ag Committee develops farm policy for the future and to convey the importance of farm policy to every member of Congress. After all, he says, not everyone farms -- but everyone eats.