Indiana has received a U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster declaration, but a federal representative says provisions in major legislation will also go a long way toward helping Hoosier farmers.
The state received record amounts of rainfall in June of this year. The first half of July also experienced significant rainfall before temperatures warmed for the summer. That led state officials to deliver a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack seeking a disaster declaration.
During a visit to Knox on Wednesday, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski said the fields in Starke County didn’t go unnoticed.
“Starke County is all curled corn and we actually commented on the way in here,” says Walorski. “I said: look at those fields.”
The congresswoman serves on the House Agriculture Committee. She says significant deliberation on the 2014 Farm Bill has provided a framework to assist local farmers in 2015.
The disaster declaration was awarded this week as LaPorte, Starke, Marshall, and Pulaski counties were included in the list of 53 counties found to be in need of disaster relief. As part of the disaster declaration, low interest loans are available for farmers to bridge possible income gaps.
Walorski, however, says this is also the first year area farmers can apply for protections from crop insurance under the Farm Bill.
“We live in a very uncertain kind of a pattern of weather in Indiana and I think what we’re going to see, especially in this area here with the amount of damage, we’re going to see a lot of crop insurance being paid out for the first time in the history of a lot of these farmers – hopefully saving a lot of family farms,” says Walorski.
The Congresswoman finished a two-day tour of Indiana’s 2nd District on Thursday.
Local agricultural service agencies have said problems for farmers in August will include drought stressors due to a combination of poor root depth and relatively dry conditions.