Existing USDA Disaster Assistance. Emergency loans are available to help producers in counties declared disaster areas. These low-interest loans are for producers who have suffered production or physical losses resulting from a natural disaster or quarantine in counties designated disaster areas by President Bush, or disaster or quarantine areas by Secretary Johanns.
Prior to this announcement, USDA has allocated over $30 million in emergency conservation program and emergency watershed protection program funds for 2006 disasters, including drought. The agency has released considerable Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage to emergency haying and grazing and lowered the rental rate reduction to 10 percent from 25 percent.
Federal crop insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) are also available to crop producers each year to help mitigate the risks associated with the adverse affects of heat and drought. Producers enrolled a record-high 246 million acres in crop insurance in 2005, with nearly 90 percent of acres insured at levels above the minimum catastrophic level of coverage. Similar enrollment levels are expected this year. In addition, NAP is available for producers who grow crops for which crop insurance is not available.
More information about today's drought assistance package and existing USDA disaster assistance is available at http://www.usda.gov