Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the Department of Agriculture will cut the interest on emergency loans given to farmers who have lost crops during the drought.
Vilsak also asked that insurance give farmers an extended grace period, and to not charge fees if a farmer can’t pay cash on their premiums. “In order to help farmers and ranchers through the hardship of the 2012 season, crop insurance companies are committed to working directly with their policyholders to make arrangements for delays on premium payments,” said National Crop Insurance Service President Tom Zacharias.
Livestock rangers are being hit hard with the cost of grain and feed increasing as crops continue to fail. Vilsack said there will be some changes to existing programs that pay farmers to grow hay to provide feed for livestock, CNN Money reported.
Experts are estimating that tens of billions of agricultural dollars have been lost to the drought, and consumers will be seeing higher prices in the grocery stores. The USDA said that 38% of the nation’s corn and 30% of soybean crops are doing poor, and at least half of the pasture and rangeland in the country is “in its worst condition in more than 15 years,” CNN said.