Drought Emergency Relief Requested

State Emergency Board (“SEB”) Chairman Adrian J. Polansky announced he is recommending that Governor Sam Brownback request USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack declare 37 additional Kansas counties as disaster areas. The added counties are Atchison, Brown, Chase, Cherokee, Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Ellsworth, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewell, Johnson, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Marion, Miami, Mitchell, Morris, Nemaha, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Rush, Russell, Saline, Shawnee, Smith, Wabaunsee and Wyandotte. The SEB reviewed and verified loss assessment reports that document at least a 30% loss of production of one or more crops in these counties. The losses are due to drought, extreme heat, high winds and wildfire plaguing a large part of Kansas again this year.

The loss assessment reports are compiled by each County Emergency Board (“CEB”) and are the first step in the declaration process for counties that are not included in the Drought Monitor Index as D2 (severe drought) for at least 8 weeks during the growing season or reaching a D3 (extreme drought) level at any time during the growing season. The CEB’s are chaired by the County Executive Director of FSA and include local KSU extension, NRCS, Rural Development and Emergency management personnel.

If Governor Brownback recommends—and USDA Secretary Vilsack makes—the disaster designation for these 37 counties, qualifying producers in the counties would be eligible for USDA-FSA emergency loans.

            Polansky stated “Unfortunately for Kansas producers, the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (“SURE”) does not cover 2012 crops and is not extended by the farm bill passed by the U.S. Senate and the House Agriculture Committee”.

            Livestock disaster programs are included in the Farm Bill language at this point–one of the reasons Congress needs to move the process forward sooner rather than later.