Buena Vista County farmers are preparing for reduced yields after continued drought conditions and several major hail storms this growing season.
Last week Gov. Tom Vilsack sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman seeking disaster designation for Buena Vista, Cherokee and Ida counties because of drought conditions.
"Although some areas in Iowa have received rain recently, producers continue to experience crop production and grain quality losses due to drought conditions," Vilsack wrote in a letter to Glickman.
If disaster designation is granted for the three counties, producers will be able to apply for low-interest emergency loans through the Farm Service Agency. The emergency loans are available for farmers who face a 30 percent or greater reduction in yields.
Also, USDA Rural Development may administer Emergency Water Assistance grants to offset connection costs to rural water systems in areas with dry wells.
Drought conditions continue to be a concern for area growers. Depending on rainfall, drought conditions could easily continue into next year unless subsoil moisture is replenished.
"We had enough rain to settle the dust, while some places had fairly decent precipitation," Ida County ISU Extension crops specialist Tony Weis said about the weekend's rainfall. Weis took part in a drought tour of Buena Vista County last month.
Read the rest of this article in the 9/26 Pilot Tribune