Recognizing that recovery from the drought that affected much of the farm belt will be a lengthy process, Agri-culture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the scheduling of four regional meetings that will outline available resources to assist with local, regional and state recovery efforts. USDA will coordinate with state and local partners, working closely with the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to facilitate these meetings.
“The impact of drought can be felt in rural communities throughout the country, and the Obama Administration is committed to doing everything it can to help farmers, ranchers, businesses, and local and county governments meet drought-related challenges,” says Vilsack.
The meetings will be coordinated through area partners, such as universities or business groups and state agencies, and will be invitational and regional in scope. Specific details will be announced later, but the meetings will be kicked off in Omaha, Neb., on Oct. 9, with meetings to follow in Ohio, Colorado and Arkansas.
The meetings will assess current and emerging drought recovery issues. USDA, in partnership with other federal agencies, will work with local government, community, and business leaders, regional planning organizations, and economic and state development and agriculture organizations to explore issues ranging from infrastructure challenges to development and specific financing needs.
This team approach has been employed elsewhere and has proved to be an effective way to further local and regional recovery planning efforts by kick-starting a collaborative process among participants from the local community.
USDA contributed to this article.