Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Rep. Fischbach participated in a hearing where she had the opportunity to question Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about why the Department has not responded to several requests for emergency assistance needed due to the ongoing drought across Minnesota.

 “…You mention that producers have faced the possibility of having to liquidate herds due to the lack of availability or affordability of feed and forage from this summers’ drought,” said Congresswoman Fischbach. “In my district, this was not just a possibility, but a reality. Nearly all of my state has been in some kind of abnormally dry condition, and over three quarters in severe drought.”

In July, the Congresswoman wrote a letter with Senator Klobuchar, signed by the Minnesota Delegation, urging Secretary Vilsack to grant an emergency waiver for haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands in Minnesota prior to the primary nesting season.  Secretary Vilsack did not authorize this and gave no explanation. Even more inexplicable, emergency haying was also disallowed as drought conditions worsened, something that the Secretary himself could not explain. Congresswoman Fischbach continued, saying “I can’t for the life of me figure out why a county’s haying situation is suddenly in better shape, enough to lift this emergency authorization, as the drought conditions actually worsen. I will continue reaching out to the Department of Agriculture, and everyone else I can, until they listen to our farmers and grant the emergency waiver they need.”

The full exchange between Congresswoman Fischbach and Secretary Vilsack can be found here.

A list of federal and state drought resources available can be found on Congresswoman Fischbach’s website.