USDA Provides Drought Aid To 73,000 Rural Californians

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA is providing $9.7 million in emergency water assistance to 73,000 residents in 11 California counties experiencing the driest year on record.

“This drought is devastating those who live, work and raise their families in much of rural California,” Vilsack says. “It is threatening the survival of whole communities and the livelihoods of folks throughout the state. From Siskiyou County in the north to Kern County in the south, this disaster is crippling communities up and down the 600-mile spine of California.

The emergency water grants are triple the amount USDA committed to when President Obama and Vilsack visited the state earlier this year.

“I am proud of the work the USDA Rural Development staff in California and Washington, D.C., have done to get this funding to those in need and the work they have done with municipal leaders in these rural communities to help residents, businesses and agricultural producers,” Vilsack says.

Extreme weather, such as the intense drought occurring in the western United States, is putting a strain on water supplies. The Obama Administration says it is committed to increasing investments in the nation’s water infrastructure to mitigate the impact of climate change and to ensure that all Americans have adequate, safe and reliable water supplies. The National Climate Assessment released earlier this year illustrates the impact of climate change across the country.

Various USDA Grants Assist Rural Communities

The 25 rural California communities are being helped by funding provided through the USDA’s Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG) program. This program helps rural communities that have experienced a significant decline in the quantity or quality of drinking water due to an emergency. In January, USDA streamlined the program’s application process to expedite emergency water assistance to communities in need, particularly in drought-impacted areas.

In addition to support from the ECWAG program, USDA is helping rural communities meet their water needs through Water and Waste Disposal loans and grants and Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (SEARCH) grants. USDA Rural Development has also approved grant funding to establish a revolving fund to provide low-interest loans to rural homeowners for household water wells.

For example, the small community of Cameron Creek Colony in Tulare County is struggling due to severe drought. About 10 percent of its residents have no access to water because their wells have run dry. Others have only intermittent access.

The city of Farmersville, Calif., is receiving a $500,000 ECWAG grant to construct pipelines connecting Cameron Creek Colony to the Farmersville water main and linking residents to the water system. This will provide much-needed relief throughout the community.

The grants are contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

The announcement is part of broader Obama Administration efforts to help those impacted by the drought. Through the National Drought Resilience Partnership, launched as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, federal agencies are working closely with states, local governments, agriculture and other partners on a coordinated response.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $310 million to help 345,000 rural Californians receive improved water or wastewater services.

Actions Taken By The USDA

As California suffers through this drought, the Administration has taken action to help those struggling to cope with the hardships it has caused, including:

  • Designated 57 counties as disaster areas, making farmers and ranchers eligible for emergency loans.
  • Targeted $25 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices to conserve water, protect fields from erosion and improve access to water for livestock.
  • Invested $5 million in emergency watershed protection.
  • Provided $7.6 million to livestock producers through the cost-sharing Emergency Conservation Program.
  • Invested $750,000 to reduce aquatic weeds clogging irrigation screens, pumps and canals in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River delta.
  • Set aside $3.3 million of a $30 million national investment to mitigate wildfire threats, protect water resources and provide habitat for at-risk species.
  • Made continuing research investments in water conservation and use efficiency, as well as capacity grants for the University of California’s Institute for Water Resources.
  • Established a network of climate hubs, including a sub-hub in Davis, for risk adaptation and mitigation to climate change.

Source: USDA

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
AFE Scholarship Video

August 16, 2017

Looking to Host an Intern This Year? Consider AFE’s Sch…

The American Floral Endowment is accepting applications for its Vic and Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program and Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program until Oct 1. Interested companies can apply anytime to become a host employer.

Read More
Delta T Devices WET Sensor in Space

August 15, 2017

Greenhouse Environmental Sensor is Truly “Out of This W…

Delta-T’s multi-parameter WET Sensor has been used by Chinese astronauts aboard the Tiangong-2 Space Lab to cultivate lettuce plants within the weightless atmosphere.

Read More
griffin-expo

August 15, 2017

Griffin Becomes Newest Distributor for Master Nursery G…

The agreement allows Griffin to join Master Nursery’s network of more than 150 supplier partners, while giving Master Nursery access to new product and service options for member businesses in the Midwest, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific Northwest regions.

Read More
Tal Coley, AmericanHort Director of Government Affairs

August 15, 2017

AmericanHort Has a New Director of Government Affairs

Tal Coley, a U.S. Air Force veteran who has an extensive background in issues advocacy, will play an active role in AmericanHort’s upcoming Impact Washington event in September.

Read More
Recyclable Horticulture Plastic Containers

August 15, 2017

How to Know Which Plastic Containers You Can Recycle

Michigan State University’s Garrett Owen offers tips to help you properly dispose of plastic containers, flats, and trays.

Read More
Francis Kwong, PanAmerican Seed

August 15, 2017

Ornamental Seed Scientist Francis Kwong Dies at Age 65

Kwong was most recently the Director of Seed Technology for PanAmerican Seed, and his research was instrumental in the development of calibrachoa, angelonia, and other plants.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

August 15, 2017

Why Consumers May Be More Interested in Plants Than You…

A visit to a local lavender event is a reminder that when you tap into something consumers are excited about and want to experience, the reward can be long-lasting,

Read More
Three Sections of Vineland Research Centre

August 14, 2017

Canadian Greenhouse Conference Features Focus on Techno…

This year’s Canadian Greenhouse Conference kicks off on October 4, and there is no shortage of presentations devoted to how growers can implement new technology in their greenhouses.

Read More
Youngs Greenhouse Space Growing Feature

August 14, 2017

How Young’s Plant Farm Invests in New Structures and Eq…

The Auburn, AL-based Top 100 Grower operation is improving its production infrastructure so it can continue to efficiently produce quality plants and keep up with demand.

Read More
HOVE International Rolling benches on concrete

August 11, 2017

Greenhouse Bench Systems Designed to Handle Any Space

HOVE bench systems from HOVE International can accommodate multiple levels while allowing for run-off water collection.

Read More
DTH 800 (Link4 Corporation)-feature

August 10, 2017

New Sensors Can Help You Manage Your Greenhouse Crop 24…

The wrong environmental conditions in your greenhouse can potentially lead to significant crop loss. Here’s how sensor technology manufacturers are helping you safeguard your greenhouse.

Read More
LED toplighting, Runkle - feature

August 9, 2017

Lighting Technology Under the Microscope at Production …

Here’s a sneak preview of three lighting trends that will be discussed by Erik Runkle at the Production Technology Conference.

Read More

August 9, 2017

Vestaron

Vestaron’s Spear insecticides carry labels for control of thrips, white flies and spider mites on both greenhouse ornamentals and greenhouse vegetables.

Read More

August 9, 2017

Bayer

Bayer’s Altus insecticide can be used before, during and after bloom to control whiteflies, aphids and other sucking pests on a wide range of ornamental pests.

Read More

August 9, 2017

Jiffy

Jiffy’s orchid plug propagation system has been shown to deliver production time savings from 25% to 40% as the uniform substrate stimulates fibrous root growth throughout the plug.

Read More

August 9, 2017

Stockosorb

Stockosorb’s 660 is the company’s most advanced hydrogel product. It is easy to apply and it provides consistent soil moisture to minimize growers’ watering requirements and reduce shrink.

Read More

August 9, 2017

Scotts

Scotts’ Root Factory brand features a range of professional growing media products that offer high-performance mixes with perfectly balanced ingredients to offer cost savings and reduced production cycles.

Read More

August 9, 2017

Kemin

Kemin Industries’ TetraCURB is now labeled for all food crops (indoor and outdoor use) and comes in a wide range of packaging options to meet growers’ needs when battling mites.

Read More