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Senator Roberts’ Statement on USDA Improvements to Disaster Assistance

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s efforts to improve federal disaster assistance by cutting red tape and reducing delays for this critical aid.

“At a time when Kansas and other states are suffering from ongoing severe drought, this is welcome news,” Roberts said. “The bureaucracy and red tape which producers must navigate will be reduced so that they can receive expedited aid when they need it most.”

The streamlined disaster designation process allowed the USDA to announce the designation of 66 Kansas counties as primary disaster areas for 2012 crop losses due to drought, along with 16 contiguous counties that also qualify. Kansans should contact their local FSA office for more information.

USDA is implementing a final rule that simplifies the process for Secretarial disaster designations and will result in a 40 percent reduction in processing time for most counties affected by disasters; a reduced interest rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent; and reduces the payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012 from 25 to 10 percent.