Kansas Governor Sam Brownback sent two letters to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week requesting the USDA issue disaster declarations for drought and severe weather counties in Kansas.
Gov. Brownback requested a drought disaster declaration for Kiowa, Marion, McPherson and Pratt counties. This is the Governor’s third drought disaster request this year.
Gov. Brownback also requested a disaster declaration for 10 Kansas counties experiencing production losses caused by severe weather conditions including excessive rains, high winds, hail and flooding. The ten counties included in the Governor’s severe weather request are Atchison, Clay, Doniphan, Kiowa, Leavenworth, Osborne, Pratt, Sedgwick, Wallace and Wyandotte.
“Production losses caused by drought, wildfires, excessive rains, high winds, hail and flooding are having a devastating impact on Kansas farmers and ranchers,” Gov. Brownback said. “An agricultural disaster declaration will make them eligible for emergency loans administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency, as well as any other aid that may be available through the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program approved in the 2008 farm bill.”
The Governor’s request reflects the recommendations of the Kansas State Emergency Board. County FSA offices must report at least a 30 percent production loss county wide in a crop order for a county to be recommended by the Board for disaster declaration.
“I appreciate the governor's leadership urging the USDA to declare these disaster counties,” Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman said. “This is an example of how the state and federal government can work together to improve Kansas agriculture's ability to adapt and recover. Additionally, the Kansas Department of Agriculture has responded to the drought by offering emergency term permits giving water right holders the flexibility to borrow a portion of next year’s water allocation.”
Based on the Governor’s most recent request, the Department of Agriculture is extending the emergency term permit option to Marion and McPherson counties so that all counties with approved and pending USDA drought disaster requests may participate in the program.
The 46 Kansas counties for which the USDA has already issued drought disaster declarations, at the recommendation of Governor Brownback in his first two requests, include: Barber, Barton, Butler, Clark, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kingman, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton, Phillips, Reno, Rice, Russell, Sedgwick, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita counties.
Kansas farmers living in the counties under the first two federal declarations who believe they may qualify for assistance should contact their local Farm Service Agency office for further information.