We were thrilled this morning to learn that the USDA is making $20 million available in assistance to California producers affected by drought. I was on a conference call this morning with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack as he made this announcement. He was joined by Representative Jim Costa and CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, who spoke about the implications of the drought and their commitment to helping farmers.
The funds will be available for both crop and grazing land, and will focus on conservation practices that conserve and protect water. Funds are available to install a number of conservation practices including irrigation efficiency, cover crops, rehabilitation of existing spring developments, protection of grazing lands, and other conservation activities. Interested landowners and managers have until March 3 to apply for available funds.
CCOF will continue to update our members on drought-related resources. We expect that with the passage of the farm bill, federal disaster assistance programs and funding will soon be available.
Meanwhile, CCOF is working on a variance request to give an exemption to organic livestock producers who will be unable to meet the pasture requirements because of the drought. Ag Alert published an article on the topic, quoting CCOF Certification Services President Jake Lewin. We will keep our producers updated on the outcome of this request.
Visit our drought resources page.