USDA officials from Washington will be traveling across the Hoosier State this week meeting with farmers and seeing firsthand the damage that has been caused by extreme drought conditions. Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Julia A. Wickard announced that USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Undersecretary Michael Scuse will travel to Indiana this Wednesday and Thursday to tour drought-stricken farm fields in northern and central Indiana, respectively.
The schedule calls for the delegation to visit:
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
8:30 a.m. EDT Allen County Farmer Randy Schaefer; Meet at 14024 Hildebrand Rd; Fort Wayne IN
Undersecretary Scuse will visit with Mr. Schaefer and tour moisture-depleted corn fields in Allen County. Mr. Schaefer is chairperson of the Allen County FSA Committee, and raises corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa hay as well as beef cattle in Allen and Whitley counties. He also experienced a wind storm on June 29, 2012. Farm wagons will be available for transport to corn fields. Mr. Scuse will be available for questions and interviews with the media. Depart at 10 a.m. EDT
2:30 p.m. EDT White County Farmers John & Brian Scott and Robert Smock; Meet at 1300 E and approximately 450 North; Idaville, IN, or 4 ½ miles north of Willie Motes Salvage Yard. Look for tent near field.
Undersecretary Scuse will visit with John and Brian Scott and Robert Smock and tour moisture-depleted corn fields in White County. The Scotts raise corn, soybeans, popcorn and wheat in White and Carroll Counties. Mr. Smock raises corn, soybeans and wheat in White County and serves as Vice Chairperson of the White County FSA Committee. Mr. Scuse will be available for questions and interviews with the media. Depart at 4 p.m. EDT
Thursday, July 19, 2012
10:15 a.m. EDT Johnson County Farmer Merrill Kelsay; Meet at 6848 N 250 E; Whiteland, IN
Undersecretary Scuse will visit with Mr. Kelsay and tour moisture-depleted farm fields in Johnson County. The Kelsays operate a six-generation dairy, raise corn, soybeans, wheat and hay, and operate year-round on-farm educational experiences. Farm wagons will be available for transport to fields. Mr. Scuse will be available for questions and interviews with the media.
Meanwhile Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has expressed his sympathy for the farm families suffering from the losses caused by the drought. “Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this year’s disasters, from frost and freezes to fires and drought. Without a robust package of disaster assistance programs available to struggling farmers and ranchers, it is important that USDA officials visit rural communities and talk with producers not only about their current options but also about the need for proper planning through these difficult times. And we remind Congress that as agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy, it is crucial that producers have a safety net in times of need, and that USDA has the tools to act quickly and deliver assistance when producers need it most.”
USDA officials are fanning out to rural communities across the country to show support to farmers and ranchers affected by a string of extreme weather in 2012. Monday, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse began a tour of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana — three states affected by severe frost and freezes in the spring, with Indiana now experiencing increasing levels of drought. In the weeks ahead, additional USDA subcabinet leaders will travel to Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and others to augment ongoing assistance from state-level USDA staff. USDA officials will also provide guidance on the department’s existing disaster resources and remind producers to keep thorough records of losses as the department’s authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expired on September 30, 2011, and Congress has not yet acted to restore these vital forms of assistance.