Ag News: Wildfires & Evacuations and Rural Broadband for 12 States
**The USDA is creating a pilot program to assist Klamath River Basin farm businesses impacted by worsening drought.
Under the program, the USDA is providing a $15 million block grant to the Klamath River Drought Response Agency.
The agency will offer payments to ag producers who curb their irrigation demands.
The USDA will evaluate the program in studying potential economic relief for the region.
**California’s biggest wildfire is leading to widespread livestock evacuations and efforts to care for animals left behind.
The Dixie Fire is the second largest in California’s history and has destroyed thousands of acres of rangeland, including for migratory cattle.
Farm Bureaus in Butte, Sierra and Plumas counties are partnering to help feed and maintain livestock. Similar efforts are underway in Nevada County’s River Fire.
**The USDA is investing $167-million to deploy broadband infrastructure across rural areas in 12 states.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says generations ago, the federal government recognized that without affordable access to electricity, Americans couldn’t fully participate in a modern society or economy.
He says broadband internet is the new electricity and the goal is to build ‘future-proof’ infrastructure so we finally reach 100% high-speed broadband coverage.
The states to benefit from this package are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.