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Bill Focuses On Drought Protection For Farmers
Harder district

The San Joaquin Valley is projected to lose at least 10 percent of its farmable land within the next 20 years; a new bill aims to stop some of those losses.

Representatives Josh Harder (CA-9) and Tracey Mann (KS-1) have introduced bipartisan legislation to protect farmers from the devastating effects of drought. In 2021, drought conditions cost the Central Valley $1.7 billion and caused the loss of more than 14,000 jobs. Drought makes it more difficult to grow crops and in the long term, it is projected to result in the loss of over 535,000 acres of agricultural production by 2040.

The Protecting Farmers from Drought Act extends federal protections for farmers in communities affected by drought by giving them additional time for water conditions to improve before they lose their crop insurance. This bill provides crucial protections for farmers while maintaining the integrity of the crop insurance program.

“Drought is an existential crisis for our community and especially our farmers. If we don’t have the water we need to grow our Valley crops, our whole way of life is in jeopardy,” said Rep. Harder. “This bill tackles this crisis head-on and says to our farmers – we stand with you and will keep you afloat during these incredibly difficult times. We have to extend federal drought protections so our farmers don’t lose their livelihoods or their crop insurance due to drought.”

When a farmer is unable to plant an insured crop due to an event like drought, Prevented Planning Insurance (PP) coverage kicks in to protect farmers financially. The Protecting Farmers from Drought Act creates a “1 in 5” rule for PP, providing a permanent solution that extends federal protections for farmers experiencing extreme drought.

“I serve in Congress to advocate for American farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers,” said Rep. Mann. “During times of unprecedented drought, we need to think creatively about adjusting risk management tools to serve the producers who are working tirelessly to keep us all fed, fueled, and clothed. Mother Nature is a fickle business partner, huge swaths of Kansas farmland are still in drought conditions, and this legislation will help ensure that producers don’t lose their insurance, or their livelihoods, while they wait for more rainfall.”