August 21, 2012--High and dry (Commerce City Sentinel)

John Berge, deputy administrator for field operations for the Farm Service Agency, recently acknowledged that political gridlock and bitter partisanship in the nation’s capital had inflicted greater hardship on the nearly 1,600 counties ravaged by the drought. “I know this is stuff you already know, but this is a perfect storm in many ways. You have no rain, and very high temperatures. There was very little snow pack in the last winter and this definitely includes the Rockies. There was not the rainfall this spring that we anticipated. And then we started hitting 100 degrees in early June,” Berge said. “Then you compound that issue with the fact that we don’t have the policy tools necessary to address these needs in terms of mitigating the drought.” Berge described the political situation as the perfect storm. “An expiring farm bill, an ongoing budget conversation that devolves into an argument that’s unwinnable, a situation now where our mandatory program side and our discretionary spending side have both been cut multi years in a row because we’re dealing with continuing resolutions moving forward,” Berge said. “That’s a whole round-about way to say we don’t have a lot of tools left, and what tools we do have, we’ve used.”

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