Saturday, July 18, 2009

Drought aid for Texas tough to come by

Juana Summers in the Austin American-Statesman (Texas): …Although 70 counties, including Bastrop and Caldwell, were declared disaster areas based on agricultural losses, Central Texas ranchers and farmers say help is hard to find. "The assistance, in terms of financial assistance, is very limited, if at all," said Bastrop County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Fisher. "There's only so much a handful of brochures can give you."

In the past week, Bastrop County has lost 12,000 cattle, an "astonishing" loss that Fisher said could devastate the county's market for cattle production for several years. Some farmers had government-backed insurance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fisher said, but "the federal program has not released any compensation for that insurance, and we're wondering" why.

...The governor's office announced Thursday that it would declare 167 Texas counties — including those in Central Texas — to be in a state of disaster because of the extreme fire hazard caused by the drought, a move officials say would allow the state to move more quickly to respond to the drought's effects….


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