From a USDA News Release
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $15 million for a new drought pilot to assist agricultural producers impacted by worsening drought conditions in the Klamath River Basin. The announcement comes as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will travel to the state for events focused on drought and wildfire resiliency on Tuesday.
“As ongoing drought conditions in the West continue to worsen, we need to find ways to do things differently in order to provide help and assistance to producers, Tribes, and communities,” said Gloria Montaño Greene, USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We recognize that current USDA programs and services are not enough to meet this historic challenge, and this pilot will help us find more tools to add to our toolbox.”
The Klamath Project’s “A” Canal will remain closed this year because of a lack of water supply. The canal, a major component of the Klamath Project, typically provides access to Upper Klamath Lake, supplying water for over 200,000 acres of farmland.
The block grant to the Klamath River Drought Response Agency (Klamath DRA) will provide payments to producers to reduce irrigation demand. This will assist in allowing the limited supply of water to be used for other practices that are vital to the region’s food supply and to reduce adverse impacts to producers in the region and supply and distribution chains. Producers will apply for funding through the Klamath DRA.
USDA will evaluate the outcomes to help inform future program design and will continue to monitor basins and drought conditions to determine where additional may best provide immediate economic support and relief to producers.
Additional Drought Assistance
The pilot is part of a broader suite of programs available to producers to help recover losses from drought. Disaster assistance programs and loans are available to help producers offset losses and get financing to help with recovery. Producers should visit farmers.gov, where they can use the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool or Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet to learn more about program or loan options.
USDA is coordinating with federal agencies, state governments, Tribes, and others to address the impacts of drought. This includes a new interagency working group created in April by the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Climate Task Force to address the worsening drought conditions in the West and support farmers. USDA co-chairs the task force with the Department of Interior.
“Drought significantly impacts agriculture, and the ability for farmers and ranchers to help transform water into food and fiber for our nation,” Montaño said. “USDA is partnering with an array of groups for a government-wide approach to addressing drought.