Source: Farmer: ‘It was the system that failed us’
Thunder clapped and rain fell just before Bionce, Sassy and the rest of Mark Argall’s prize winning dairy herd went up for auction. Argall’s pasture was so dry that his cattle had nothing to eat, and the farmer was losing $75 a day just trying to feed them.
Triple-digit temperatures and sparse rain this summer produced one of the most severe and widespread U.S. droughts in a half-century. Most headlines have focused on the extent of the drought — the fact that it enveloped more than half the country; or that temperatures in July were the hottest for any month on record in the continental United States.
Stacey McCallister, a 44 year old who raises dairy cows. He didn’t know quite what to do when six of his dairy cows keeled over, two of them fatally because they’d eaten grass that was so dry it had become toxic. So far USDA has made no effort to help (targeted) at dairy farmers, dairy advocates say.
Michael Scuse, under secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said “dairy farmers have not been offered a safety net because Congress has not finalized legislation called the Farm Bill. Several programs that deal with emergency assistance for livestock owners expired in September 2011, and an insurance program for livestock producers, which he said “never had adequate funding,” will be cut further in September (2012) and eliminated by October 1 unless new legislation is passed.”
Brown’s Hardware, has an ominous sign in the window. “Going out of business”
We rely on the farmers, said Joe Robertson, 76, who has worked there for more than two decades. It’s dry and hot. (The farmers) couldn’t get out to do anything.
It could be just the first sign of trouble. There’s a huge ripple effect” from the drought, said Emerson, the congresswoman. If a farmer is making a profit not a big one, but a little one, even then they’re going to go to the grocery store. They’re going to go to the implement dealer. They’re going to go to the beauty shop. They’re going to go to the Hallmark store. They’re going to utilize the services that are in those communities. And if our farmers aren’t buying anything, then the implement dealers suffer. The hardware store suffers. Everybody suffers.
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