The current lack of rainfall and prolonged drought status is raising concerns beyond California’s borders. As a state that produces over half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables and is a leader in the dairy and citrus industries, California’s drought status is far reaching.
“We in California are facing a disaster that has the potential to devastate our economy and force many of my constituents out of work and we need all the help we can get in responding to this crisis,” said Congressman Jim Costa.
While Californians continue to pray for rain, the United States Department of Agriculture is interceding to defray the effect of the drought by making $20 million available for landowners and managers. The funds are designated to mitigate drought issues and will distributed based on need between crop land and grazing land.
"These funds will help get a suite of scientifically proven conservation techniques on the ground and helping producers. USDA has a long, successful history of helping farmers and ranchers plan for and employ conservation practices that conserve and protect and maximize every available drop of water,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The USDA’s involvement is a testament to the severity of California’s current drought status and demonstrates the importance of maximizing limited resources as well as taking a bipartisan approach to resolving the issue.
“Lord knows we need to avoid politicizing this issue. We need to provide real, bipartisan solutions that will help the people of California and the western states,” said Costa.
For more information on federal assistance for the drought in California, eligible landowners can contact their local National Resources Conservation Service center.