Aug 03 2007

Critical agriculture funding secured

Madison Record

Shelby announces critical aid for agriculture industry; food safety funding

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, last week announced vital funding to provide relief to Alabama's drought-stricken agriculture industry.

The legislation will go to the Senate floor for consideration. Shelby secured provisions within the fiscal year 2008 Agriculture Appropriations bill to provide assistance to the agriculture community currently suffering from drought and other natural disasters. These provisions included $10 million for the Emergency Conservation Program to relieve drought-stricken areas across the nation and an extension of the Livestock Compensation Program from February 28 to December 31 included in the fiscal year 2007 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill. Both provisions are meant to relieve the effects the drought is having on our agriculture industry across the nation and ensure that those affected have equal access to federal disaster aid.

On July 2, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Michael Johanns designated the entire State of Alabama as a primary disaster area due to the drought that began on January 1, 2007, and is continuing. As a result of the designation, farm operators in all Alabama counties have eight months from the date of the designation to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency for losses that occurred during the 2007 crop year due to drought.

Shelby also announced funding for: Food safety inspection ($48.407 million), the Research Center on Detection and Food Safety ($2.5 million), fish vaccine and microbe research ($1.06 million), the catfish genome ($878,046), the National Soil Dynamics Lab ($1.11 million), improved crop production practices ($1.38 million), peanut research ($591,000), the Alabama Wildlife Conservation Education Center ($300,000), precision agriculture research in Alabama ($599,000), rural water and wastewater grants ($550.469 million), circuit riders ($13.612 million) and rural water training ($3.713 million). For more information on this and other legislature, visit www.Shelby.senate.gov.