Ag groups call on Congress to approve disaster relief for farmers


Earlier this week, a $13.5 billion disaster relief bill failed to get the votes needed in Congress to provide aid for weather related disasters from 2018 and 2019. The bill would have helped states affected by hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding. The proposal provided extra money for states hit by the Midwest flooding, but failed due to not providing enough continued relief for recovery in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Many are calling for Congress to put their differences aside and work across the aisle.  

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall is concerned about congressional efforts to provide disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers. “Farms and ranches across the country have endured an incredibly difficult year in 2018 and the trend continues in 2019 with historic hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and wildfires. Losses total more than $8 billion, and the full impact of recent flooding in the Midwest is still being assessed. But we know that many farmers are facing near-complete losses of their crops, livestock and farm infrastructure. At the same time, Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis continues and reauthorizing the Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico program at $600 million is critical.” 

“In times of unprecedented natural disaster, our nation always has stepped up to help farmers and ranchers recover from circumstances beyond their control and to restore their farms to productivity, so we can get back to the business of feeding our people and our economy. Farm Bureau urges U.S. senators to support farmers and ranchers and the rural communities impacted by these catastrophic weather events by moving past this political impasse.”

“Our nation always has come together in times of difficulty. That’s what we must do now. We ask all senators to set aside political concerns and prioritize concern for our nation’s food producers.”

The Senate failed to approve their version on Monday with a 44-49 vote. The House version also failed to pass with a 46-48 vote. With failure at both sides for disaster relief, Congress is back to the drawing board. We hope they can come up with a compromise and fast to help rural America.

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