Kansas Farmers Waiting Washington Action
Jerry Moran - Wed 03:22 PM 08/15/2012
Back home in Kansas we are spending our time looking up to the sky, praying and hoping for rain. Our state, along with much of the country, is suffering from a very serious drought. Crops are dying, cattle are hungry and being sold off, and water is in scarce supply.
Every county in Kansas — all 105 — has been declared a disaster county. Half the continental United States is in the worst drought since 1956 and the situation is expected to only get worse. Congress must act now to give American agriculture producers the long-term certainty they deserve and to ensure continued food security for our country.
The United States has a long history of drought and recovery. From the Dust Bowl to today, we have faced periods of severe drought — and American farmers and ranchers have shown their resilience.
The 1930’s were often called “the worst hard time” — a time when vast expanses of alfalfa and corn fields were turned into deserts and devastation. People were forced to abandon their farms and ranches and give up on the only way of life they had known. Crops, livestock and livelihoods vanished into dust.
Thankfully, the rains eventually returned and the American heartland was reclaimed. When you compare the drought we face today to that of the 1930’s you will notice one big difference — today there is no dust bowl. This is because forward-thinking American farmers and ranchers have adopted new land and livestock management techniques focused on conservation and preventing wind and water erosion.
Conservation agriculture truly is the most effective drought mitigation tool available today, but conservation programs overseen by the federal government are in danger at the worst possible time. On September 30th, the conservation programs included in the 2008 Farm Bill will expire, bringing more uncertainty to an already disastrous drought situation. Without the conservation programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers, ranchers and landowners will not have the tools they need to execute their conservation plans and protect land, water and wildlife.