Rep. Borders: Prolonged Drought Affects all Hoosiers
The sweltering heat and lack of rain has had a profound effect on the Hoosier agriculture industry. Many experts are comparing our current dry spell to the devastating drought of 1936. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 64 counties in Indiana as primary natural disaster areas and an additional 16 counties as contiguous natural disaster areas.
“Farmers have been some of the hardest hit by severe heat and drought,” said Rep. Borders. “It’s important for farmers to know that there are some programs available that might be helpful to them.”
In all, 80 (of 92 total) Indiana counties now qualify for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Farmers in both primary and contiguous counties have eight months from the designation date to apply for reduced rate emergency loan assistance from the FSA. The FSA will take into account the extent of production losses, security available and repayment ability when determining eligibility.
Because of the expected high loss of corn, consumers will notice higher prices at the supermarket around harvest time. On average, if there is a 50 percent increase in the price of corn, the price of all food will increase one percent. The price of meat could increase as much as 10 percent since corn serves as the main feed for livestock.
“The weather has taken its toll on the farmers’ crops and livestock,” said Rep. Borders. “We’re all hoping for some rain to salvage at least some this year’s harvest.”
The USDA urges all farmers to contact their crop insurance companies and their local USDA center to report crop damage or livestock loss. Livestock producers are encouraged to keep thorough records of losses, including additional expenses for such things as food purchased, due to lost supplies.