Business, Economics and Jobs

US Drought: House passes $383M aid package


Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17, 2012 near Fritchton, Indiana. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades. Indiana was the nation's fourth largest corn producer in 2011.


Scott Olson

The US House passed a $383 million drought-assistance package for the beleaguered live stock producers and some fruit farmers, the National Journal reported.

The measure was widely considered a last ditch effort to provide some aid to farmers struggling in a drought that is affecting more than half of all US counties before the House adjourned for recess, according to BBC News.

While the relief package restores expired programs for livestock, some trees, honeybees, and farm-raised fish, Congress was unable to pass their version of an overarching five-year farm bill, which would cost about $500 billion over five years, CNN reported. The house farm bill would also cut $16.1 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly known as food stamps).

“My priority remains to get a five-year farm bill on the books and put those policies in place, but the most pressing business before us is to provide disaster assistance to those producers impacted by the drought conditions who are currently exposed,” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, said earlier this week in a statemen, the National Journal reported.

However, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that it is unlikely that the bill will get taken up in the Senate until about September 10, when Congress returns from a monthlong recess.