Farm Groups Request Disaster Relief

Farm groups and agriculture lenders are urging lawmakers to pass disaster aid. More than 135 farm groups and banks last week penned a letter urging President Trump and Congress to “put aside political differences and supply urgently needed relief.” The organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, highlighted the “unprecedented destruction” in the letter from 2018 and 2019. Farmers and ranchers are especially anxious for relief because the disasters have come on top of an ongoing downturn in farm income. In response, many banks have tightened credit, placing some growers in jeopardy of not receiving critical funds needed to plant this year’s crops without some form of federal relief. Estimated agriculture losses in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina alone total nearly $5.5 billion. Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri currently estimate losses at more than $3 billion. Father, the groups say droughts have devastated the Southwest, and wildfires have done the same in the West. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico encountered its own humanitarian crisis from hurricanes Irma and Maria. For many farmers, the groups say, these events have meant near complete losses.