California Drought Crisis Gets Comprehensive Action Plan From Federal Government

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Communities across California are faced with one of the worst droughts in the state in over a century. Last week, farmers in California made plans to leave about half a million acres out of production in an area that provides 50 percent of America’s fruits and vegetables. The Obama administration is extending support to the farmers, ranchers, small businesses and communities in California that are being impacted by the drought.

A series of new actions are being put in place to help the state recover from this historic drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of the Interior (DOI) and other federal agencies are engaging with their state and local partners to step up the support. The USDA is making implementation of disaster programs such as the Livestock Forage Disaster Program a priority. This program will help livestock producers in California recover from the drought with $100 million in assistance for 2014 losses and up to $50 million for previous years.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), administered by the USDA, is providing $15 million in targeted conservation assistance for the most extreme and exceptional drought-hit areas in California and other states. The assistance will help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices that conserve scarce water resources, cut down wind erosion on fields and improve livestock access to water.

The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program of the administration provides targeted assistance of $5 million to the worst drought-affected areas of California to protect vulnerable soils. The funding will help communities and landowners in drought-impacted areas address watershed impairments.

The USDA has made available $60 million to food banks in California to help families that may be economically impacted by the drought. About 600 summer meal sites will be established in the drought stricken areas of the state. The USDA is also making $3 million in grants available to rural communities that are experiencing water shortages due to the drought.


Image Credit: Flickr via The Italian Voice