Ag News: USDA $1.15-billion ReConnect Program
**Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA is making funding available to bring a significant expansion of access to high-speed internet, health care, and educational services for millions of Americans.
USDA has $1.15 billion available to help people in rural communities across the country get access to high-speed internet.
USDA will begin accepting applications for loans and grants on November 24 and making the funding available through its ReConnect Program.
**As La Niña climate conditions are back for a second-straight winter, above-average temperatures will show up in the South and most of the eastern U.S.
That’s from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, which issued the 2021 Winter Weather Outlook that extends from December through February.
NOAA says the Southwest U.S. will be the biggest concern as below-normal precipitation won’t improve the drought conditions there.
Below-normal temps are likely in southern Alaska and the Pacific Northwest eastward through the Northern Plains.
**California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is taking additional steps to protect farmers and ranchers denied insurance coverage after wildfires.
The Legislature in July made farm structures eligible for coverage under the California FAIR Plan.
Now ready to expand coverage limits for agriculture, Lara says “Many farmers and vintners need more coverage than they can currently get.”