Archive for Thursday, January 10, 2013

All Kansas counties except one declared disaster areas because of drought

January 10, 2013


As drought conditions continue into the new year, nearly all of Kansas has been declared a federal disaster area in 2013.

The disaster-area designation, announced Wednesday by the United States Department of Agriculture, makes low-interest federal emergency loans available to farmers in drought-affected areas. All Kansas counties, with the exception of Doniphan County, are included.

Almost 80 percent of the state is experiencing extreme drought conditions, including parts of Douglas, Franklin and Jefferson counties, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a partnership of federal and academic agencies.

Northeastern Kansas has missed out on more than 12 inches of precipitation over the past year compared with the average, and experts say there is no good news in the immediate forecast.

"Not much has changed," said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist who tracks drought conditions at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb.

"I think we'll be dealing with this drought for a significant portion of 2013, unless the pattern changes," he said.

The light snow and rain Lawrence has seen in recent months haven't made a dent in that shortfall, Fuchs said. It takes 15 inches of snow in northeastern Kansas to equal one inch of liquid water, and the immediate Lawrence area was more than 11 inches below average for 2012.

The entire state of Kansas was declared a disaster area in July 2012, and Wednesday's announcement covers farmers for another year of drought. The emergency loans will be available to farmers to help cover losses throughout 2013. Today, the interest rate on those loans is 2.15 percent.

It's not usual for counties and states to immediately be designated federal disaster areas with the start of a new year, said farm loan specialist Lee Hartford at the USDA Kansas Farm Loan Office in Manhattan. Since July, areas of severe to exceptional drought have automatically become eligible for disaster relief.

Along with Kansas, parts of 13 other states were included in Wednesday's declaration, including Missouri and Oklahoma. These are the first federally designated disaster areas of the year.

Gov. Sam Brownback will meet Friday with state and federal officials charged with responding to the drought in Kansas.


appleaday 5 years, 4 months ago

And our legislators in Washington voted against hurricane Sandy relief.

Pete Nachbar 5 years, 4 months ago

Isn't it ironic and very hypocritical that we, meaning the State of KS are willing to accept a Federal handout, when we refuse the Medicaid funding that will benefit thousands of KS residents. KS can take care of itself . We dont want the Feds telling us what to do with our farmland. Basically, the Corporate owned farmers are the ones screaming for relief . The Family Farms are becoming things of the past , sad but true . Now Big AGRA Farms runs the show and the politicians.

pambow 5 years, 4 months ago

My family operates a small family farm. Normally we do our own hay for cattle, but this year we got 1/3 of what we normally do. We planned to bale corn and feed that, but due to the drought, when it was tested the nitrate level was 9700 which is enough to kill my cattle. We bought up as much as we could afford, but we will not have enough to make it through the year. Right now there is very little available in the state of Kansas. Most of it will require huge shipping costs to get it here and the price is over-inflated. In the fall of 2011, we paid $38 per big round bale and now they are being advertised from $140 - $300 per bale plus shipping. We go through 7-10 bales a week. How do you consider this a Federal handout. It's a loan with a reduced interest rate. I don't want a handout. I would like to buy quality hay at a reasonable price and take care of my own. But I have to have a way to feed my animals. What would you suggest?

Katara 5 years, 4 months ago

The farm loans are guaranteed by the FSA much like FHA loans and student loans. They are government subsidized loans.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 4 months ago

Not a week ago Kansas reps in DC voted against Hurricane Sandy relief. Not one voted for it. Not a single one.
The irony. It burns.

blindrabbit 5 years, 4 months ago

Please provide how much money each of our 6 Teabag U.S. Senators/Representatives will receive out of this dole out. Already know that Brownback, Jenkins, Yoder and Huelskamp are all from agricultural backgrounds, agricultural property owners and are therefore likely benefactors. What role Roberts, Moran and Pompeo have in agriculture is less well known, but likely some connection. The point is, all of these scallywags (less Brownback, Moran and Roberts who did not vote) all voted "no" when it came to providing financial aid to Hurricane Sandy victims on the East Coast. Guess what is good for the gander is not for the geese.

Ian_Cummings 5 years, 4 months ago

That's an interesting idea. We'll see if we can find that out.

pambow 5 years, 4 months ago

Ok, I don't want to sound cruel, because I have no problem giving Sandy Victims some help. But if a tornado wiped out my place, I have insurance coverage to replace it. How is a loan in any way equal to a handout? I don't know about the rest of them but it is correct that Jenkins comes from an agricultural background (dairy) but she (or even her parents) are not currently involved in farming so I don't see how she is a benefactor.

Katara 5 years, 4 months ago

Your loan is subsidized by the government. FSA guarantees them.

notyourmom 5 years, 4 months ago

The problem with insurance is the run around. They are not paying out because they are calling it a "flood" and not a hurricane. There are a lot of people who have spent a lot of money on insurance who are not getting the coverage they need. It would be like a tornado wiping out your house and the insurance refusing to cover it because it's "wind damage". And not just you, but everyone around you as well.

Nathan Atchison 5 years, 4 months ago

will a real conservative please stand up?

blindrabbit 5 years, 4 months ago

observant: Why would Brownie reject this manna from heaven, afterall, he and his family are major landowners in the Lynn County, Parker, Kansas area. This is ironic, since the town of Parker appears to be somewhat impoverished. I'm sure the Brownback family will gladly accept this gift. Curious, wonder how much the Koch-a-Kola land holding empire will benefit from this, I'm sure their coffers need to be replenished since Rovie absconded with their millions.

thinkagain 5 years, 4 months ago

Ian - Can we get more specifics on which parts of Douglas County fall into the designated disaster area? Thanks.

Ian_Cummings 5 years, 4 months ago

The entire county falls into the disaster area. Most of the western half of the county falls into the "extreme" drought category. Most of the eastern half is rated one level lower, at "severe" drought.

Jonathan Fox 5 years, 4 months ago

At least farmers work for their "welfare". Work harder than the vast majority of americans in fact. The real welfare is you and me not having to have food prices skyrocket.

Shelley Bock 5 years, 4 months ago

National media has now identified that Jenkins, who was a "Porker of the Month" a couple of years ago, voted against Hurricane Sandy aid because it was "pork". She knows how to create friends, doesn't she. How many back East are going to see Kansas as deserving of any federal assistance.

"Your pork stinks; my pork doesn't stink" should be her slogan.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

"But while asking why taxpayers must subsidize waterfront development in areas under increasing threat from climate change, we should ask why weather-related questions stop at the shoreline. The federal government spends a fortune protecting farmers’ incomes in drought-prone regions that are going to get hotter and dryer. That encourages people to grow thirsty crops where they shouldn’t.

“The federal crop-insurance program is far worse in many ways than the flood insurance in the incentives it gives farmers to do things that are risky...Congress replaced a more modest farm-support program (paying out if drought, hail or flood substantially reduced the average yield) with an immodest program actually guaranteeing a farmer’s income. Taxpayers on average pick up two-thirds of the premiums."

Nathan Atchison 5 years, 4 months ago

farming is gambling. with no insurance you're making an unsteady profession more so. some of the awkward ag policy keeps us from the boom bust cycle. waterfront development and ag insurance are not too comparable to this biased kansan.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

Yup. It's a gamble. Why should taxpayers subsidize this gamble? If a farmer can't make a living in his chosen profession, he can choose a different profession the same as everyone else. Ag policy is a scam.

KSManimal 5 years, 4 months ago

"Why should taxpayers subsidize this gamble?"

You like to eat? Never cuss a farmer with your mouth full....

pambow 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree with KSManimal! Do you like to eat? I assume you think a corporation could run a farm better? Corporations won't care about genetically modified crops or growth hormones in your milk (Oh yeh, corporate dairies already do that). Right now family farmers do not get to set their price for their products. They take what someone is willing to pay. The majority of the profit goes to the middleman. Corporations on the other hand, set their price which increases the price of the product at the grocery store. This is not free money. We only qualify for a LOAN at a reduced interest rate. When you get a loan for a car or a house through FHA, do you consider yourself taking a government handout?

Katara 5 years, 4 months ago

They are government subsidized loans. You don't get such a low interest rate without the government backing your loan. It is still government help. If you default, it is the taxpayers that pick up the bill.

Mike Edson 5 years, 4 months ago

Being declared a disaster area is so "over." Everywhere has now been declared a disaster area.

thinkagain 5 years, 4 months ago

edson443 - We should start a trend and begin to declare Lawrence "an area of good fortune" and see if anything befalls us.

formerfarmer 5 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

mjjjam 5 years, 4 months ago

Did you eat today? Oh, the thoughts of those who have no idea!!!!!!!!!! The farmers I know do not live high on the hog..... no pun intended! I wonder... have any of you ever farmed before? Of course not! No appreciation for those who work so hard for YOU! Those at the top should have voted to support those of Hurricane Sandy! I'm certain the farmers in Douglas County would support that!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

Aid to farmers is fine, but only if they use the aid to feed people. If they're using federal aid just to prop up corporate agriculture in its various unsustainable scams, I say get off that government-subsidized corporate teat, and establish an agricultural operation that feeds real people, the closer to your farm the better.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

You mean farmers like a local wealthy developer who has drawn $ 288,988.83 in farm subsidies since 1995?

Or the local farmer where I live who has drawn nearly a million dollar in subsidies in the same time frame who winters in Arizona every year?

pambow 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't know any "farmers" like that.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

Go to the website and look up your neighbors, relatives, politicians and local business bigwigs. You may be surprised.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

Monoculture corn crops, which receive federal welfare, are mainly used for non-food purposes. "

According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. The crop is fed as ground grain, silage, high-moisture, and high-oil corn. About 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly (e.g. corn chips) or indirectly (e.g. high fructose corn syrup). It also has a wide array of industrial uses including ethanol, a popular oxygenate in cleaner burning auto fuels."

Soybeans, another subsidized crop, is used mostly for making oil.

"Soybeans are used to create a variety of products, the most basic of which are soybean oil, meal, and hulls. According to the United Soybean Board, soybean oil, used in both food manufacturing and frying and sautéing, represents approximately 79 percent of all edible oil consumed in the United States. Soybean oil also makes its way into products ranging from anti-corrosion agents to Soy Diesel fuel to waterproof cement. Over 30 million tons of soybean meal are consumed as livestock feed in a year. Even the hulls are used as a component of cattle feed rations."

We don't have to eat meat or fried foods to survive.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

Your examples seem to contradict your statement.

Feeding grain to livestock is a food purpose, as is soybean oil.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

That may be true.

But, her statement isn't.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

Since we don't need to eat animals to survive, I would argue the 80% used for livestock is not used to feed humans.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

That's just silly. Most uses of feed for livestock wind up being eaten by humans in one form or another - eggs, cheese, milk, etc. as well as meat eating.

Having been a vegetarian (occasionally vegan) for over 25 years, I completely agree we don't need to eat animals, but that's a different issue.

Also, from what I've learned, feed corn isn't really a great thing for people to eat directly.

pambow 5 years, 4 months ago

Where do you think the rest of your food comes from?

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

My garden, and small local farmers who practice sustainable farming methods without the necessity of leaching off the public.

Here's an interesting history of the farm subsidy scam.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 4 months ago

My Grandfather, a dairy farmer, said the Government should never get involved in agriculture. Perhaps he was right.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 4 months ago

I am sure the the Kansas congressional delegation rationalized their Sandy "no" vote o grounds that it was spending we could not afford, similar to Brownback.

Brownback, Roberts, Moran, Huelskamp, Jenkins, and Pompeo should all refuse any drought relief, even in the form of low interest loans, on these same grounds.

Not gonna happen, though. When pigs fly.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 4 months ago

I do have sympathy for the family farmer. However, they keep voting for these jokers and electing them to congress and the state legislature.

Responsibility for one's actions can be a bear.

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