Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, also the state’s Secretary of Agriculture, released the following statement Thursday evening regarding the drought conditions and disaster steps announced Wednesday by USDA:
Drought conditions, the likes of which we have not seen since 1988, are affecting the entire state and several sectors of our economy. Agriculture is a sector that is most dependent on Mother Nature, and ALL Hoosiers are dependent on our farmers to furnish the basics of life.
As we continue to work with our partners to address the severe challenges farmers are facing, we appreciate the flexibility granted by USDA. The allowance of an automatic disaster designation for counties most affected will speed up the process and simplify support procedures that help growers and producers combat losses.
We continue to monitor counties that have not yet received disaster designation and will make the requests to USDA for counties that we believe should receive that status.
We are supportive of any effort to reduce processing time, reduce emergency loan rates, and provide faster assistance. We also appreciate the approved flexibility in the Conservation Reserve Program that addresses the amount of land qualifying for emergency haying and grazing.
Here in the Hoosier state, we will move forward in our efforts to overcome the obstacles and help minimize the impact of this tragic weather pattern.
Lt. Governor Becky Skillman oversees the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, the Office of Energy Development, the Office of Tourism Development, and the State Department of Agriculture.