The Senate Commerce Committee has approved the Drought Information Act of 2013. The measure reauthorizes the National Integrated Drought Information System. The system – initially authorized in 2006 – provides vital drought information to farmers, ranchers and other industries affected by drought-related weather conditions. The Senate bill would extend the program for five years and support an improved early warning system of timely and accurate drought information. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member John Thune says the National Integrated Drought Information System is a critically important tool that provides agricultural producers with early warning information they need to prepare for drought conditions. He says the financial stress and uncertainty created by droughts make tools like this vital for farmers and ranchers to prepare for drought occurrences. He’s hopeful the legislation will receive consideration on the Senate floor during this session of Congress.