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Senate passes disaster relief for farmers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has passed important provisions introduced by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) as well as Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to provide timely disaster assistance to producers facing severe crop loss from last fall’s heavy rains and floods.

Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) has led the effort to pass disaster assistance in the House, joining with Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) to introduce companion legislation, leading a crop disaster tour throughout Mississippi’s First District, and sending letters to USDA and Mississippi officials which resulted in disaster area designations for all 24 First District counties.

“This past December, I hosted a crop disaster tour throughout Mississippi’s First Congressional District, and invited USDA Deputy Undersecretary Michael Scuse to join me,” said Childers. “Together, we got a first-hand look at how devastating last fall’s floods were for our farmers and our communities. The Senate’s passage of these important provisions marks a critical victory for farmers in North Mississippi and throughout the South who have suffered tremendously from last season’s crop losses.

“Agriculture is the backbone of the South. The ability of our farmers to recover from staggering profit losses – as well as the ability of our local economies to stay afloat during today’s tough times – depends on this legislation. I have been a champion of disaster relief since the first call for help I received from our local farmers, and I will continue to fight for this legislation until it is on the President’s desk and signed into law.”

The disaster assistance provisions will now move to the House for consideration as part of legislation to extend unemployment benefits through the end of the year.

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