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Tanner asks USDA to help farmers

Tanner asks USDA to help farmers
Tennessee farmers will have to reseed land affected by this year’s drought and Congressman John Tanner wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help.
Tanner recently joined the entire Tennessee Congressional delegation in signing a letter to Chuck Conner, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, addressing these concerns.
The delegation informed Conner that Tennessee has been hit exceptionally hard by drought this year, placing many of the state’s farmers and ranchers in a precarious economic position.
In the past 100 years, the growing season of January through July 2007 was the driest on record, with little relief from extreme heat. Record setting temperatures, severely reduced soil moisture and increased production costs have caused great economic hardship for Tennessee producers.
“We are requesting your consideration of the use of direct payments through available discretionary funding, including Section 32 funds, to assist with a pasture recovery program in Tennessee. The drought has devastated pastures and severely impacted forage production capabilities. Pasture and forage losses have totaled $140 million, which negatively impacts all livestock feed supplies, including wildlife and the related economy. Reseeding will be extensively required in the severe drought counties. If Tennessee’s pastures are properly managed through the reseeding program, the effects of drought will be less severe and pastures will rebound faster when precipitation is sufficient.
“We appreciate your support for Tennessee through your disaster designation due to losses caused by extreme drought earlier this year. This designation provided essential low-interest emergency loans to qualifying Tennessee producers. However, the drought continues to devastate our farmers and ranchers, and we regret that the current drought designation will not provide enough assistance to address agricultural losses in Tennessee. Thank you for your consideration of this request.”
In a separate letter, Tanner joined 42 other House members in asking the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee to extend the deadline for farmers to apply for disaster aid after this year’s late freeze and ongoing drought in Tennessee.
Tanner represents Tennessee’s 8th Congressional district in West and Middle Tennessee. He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and as chairman of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Published in The Messenger on 10.10.07

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