Urging federal assistance, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Friday to discuss the impact severe drought conditions are having on Kentucky farmers.
The U.S. Drought Monitor released a new report this week showing the severity of the heat wave and lack of rainfall is worsening across the country, and that the amount of land classified as having “extreme” or “exceptional” drought is over 20 percent.
In Kentucky, officials say the dry spell has affected the entire state and 33 counties have been given a federal disaster declaration as a result.
“Kentucky farmers and livestock operators are very concerned they don’t have the tools readily available to enable them to manage the risk caused by the drought,” McConnell said, urging the secretary to “look at all legal authorities and budgetary options to assist Kentucky farmers.”
In order to help farmers and ranches, Vilsack has pressured lawmakers to pass a five-year extension of all agricultural programs before the current funding levels and authorization expires on September 30.