Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today during a visit to Nebraska that the lingering drought over the Corn Belt will have a long-range effect, extending well beyond farming.
Vilsack kicked off the first of four national workshops that will focus on drought recovery today in Omaha.
Vilsack said federal officials were in Omaha to listen and learn. He said in order for the government to help it needs to gather an assessment of concerns first. Options could range from financial assistance, technical assistance or flexing regulations. Vilsack added that providing financial assistance is difficult at this time because the delay in passing a new five-year Farm Bill.
AUDIO: Agriculture Secretary Vilsack discusses options for drought aid. [2:08]
At the meeting in Omaha, government officials gathered information regarding the concerns of residents along with resources available to determine long-term solutions to the drought situation.
Vilsack stated we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best regarding the length of the drought.
AUDIO: Vilsack discussing what he hopes to learned in the workshops. [1:55]
The next regional meeting is October 15th in Pueblo, Colorado followed by meetings in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on October 17th and final in Ohio on October 22nd.