Drought aid grows by $30 million, Obama says

Marion Kujawa looks over what usually is a pond he uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Illinois.


Scott Olson

President Barack Obama asked the Department of Agriculture to send another $30 million worth of drought relief to struggling farmers, the White House announced today.

He also made his first public comments in weeks about a spat between the House and Senate over larger farm aid packages, USA Today said.

“This has been an all-hands-on-deck response,” Obama said. “But obviously we’ve got a lot more to do. ... My instructions to all the agencies is we need to keep working and to see if there is more that we can do.”

The US is amid its worst drought in 56 years, Bloomberg News reported.

The president said the latest round of aid will help restore affected farm land and get water to livestock.

The White House also increased federally subsidized conservation land available for emergency grazing to 3.8 million acres,

Insurance companies also agreed to grace periods for farmers trying to pay down crop premiums, Bloomberg said.

More from GlobalPost: Half of US counties now considered disaster areas

Corn and soybean crops haven’t been this poor for 24 years; more than 60 percent of the US is experiencing moderate to severe drought.

The president chided Congress for not passing a five-year, $383-million disaster bill before its five-week recess.

“Congress needs to pass a farm bill that will not only provide important disaster relief tools but also make necessary reforms and give farmers the certainty they deserve,” Obama said.

But House Speaker John Boehner issued a counter-statement today accusing Democrats of clogging up the aid.

“It’s unfortunate that Senate Democrats have blocked this relief package from getting to those in need,” Boehner’s office said in a statement.

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