Northwest Ohio Counties Designated as Disaster Areas
Latta and Agriculture Director Daniels Tour Drought-Stricken Farms
BOWLING GREEN, OH – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would designate Williams County as a primary natural disaster area and Defiance, Fulton, and Henry counties will be designated as contiguous counties. These designations allow for farm operators within these counties to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Defiance and Fulton counties have already been receiving assistance from FSA, however Henry County is now eligible.
Prior to the USDA announcement, Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) and Ohio Agriculture Director David T. Daniels toured farms throughout northwest Ohio this past Monday, August 6, to view areas of distress due to the drought.
Congressman Latta and Director Daniels met with farmers to discuss the problems and issues they have encountered during the drought this year, which has been described as the worst drought since 1956. During the tour Congressman Latta and Director Daniels saw first-hand the impact on local corn, soybean, and tomato crops in Fulton County and a dairy farm, which milks 180 cows, in Defiance County.
“While there is no doubt that this drought has had a harmful effect on our farmers and livestock producers, these conditions present a larger problem on an economic scale. Ohio’s food and agriculture industry yields $105 billion to the state’s economy,” said Latta. “As one of the largest agricultural districts in the state, many of the communities in the Fifth Congressional District, especially rural communities, are supported by the farms and small businesses within the agricultural industry,” Latta continued.
“To the non-farmer, a drought means brown grass and the inconvenience of having to water gardens and flowers. To the farmer, as we saw in our tour, it means thousands of dollars invested in a season’s crop that may yield next to nothing or livestock feed costs that are so high many will not be able to afford to feed their herds and flocks. Without rain or relief, I fear some will not be able to farm again next year,” said Daniels.
The latest drought monitor has counties within the Fifth Congressional District of Ohio experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions. The most recent USDA’s crop bulletin reported that 50 percent of Ohio’s corn crops were poor to very poor.
“Farmers and ranchers are used to working in tough and unpredictable conditions, but it is critical that we work to provide them with the management tools to alleviate the emergency circumstances they are facing now,” said Congressman Latta in reference to today’s USDA announcement.