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State of Vermont

Senate Chamber

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint Senate Resolution

     By the Committee on Agriculture,

     J.R.S. 8.  Joint resolution urging Congress to appropriate as quickly as possible federal funds for payment of agricultural disaster relief to Vermont's financially pressed farmers.

Whereas, during May 2006, Vermont experienced extremely heavy rainfall causing delayed planting and late harvests which resulted in poor crop yields and low quality feed, and

Whereas, this extremely damaging precipitation occurred at the same time that milk prices were low, and well below dairy farmers’ production costs, and

Whereas, as a result of the terrible May weather, Governor Douglas requested that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Vermont prepare a damage assessment report for all crops in all counties in the state, and 

Whereas, the report tallied $53,955,513.00 in crop damage in Vermont, and the Vermont USDA-FSA office submitted it in June 2006 to United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, and

Whereas, based on this report, on June 23, 2006, Secretary Johanns declared all counties in Vermont as agricultural disaster areas because each county had sustained at least 30 percent crop damage, and

Whereas, dairy farmers face severe problems due not only to the continuing low price for milk but also on account of the limited availability of feed for their herds due to the wet weather that persisted throughout the spring and summer of 2006, and

Whereas, because of the combination of low milk prices and crops of decreased quality and quantity, many Vermont farmers are carrying a larger debt burden that is hampering their ability to purchase seeds and fertilizers for the 2007 spring planting, and

Whereas, compounding the problems associated with poor crop yields in Vermont, livestock farmers are confronted with feed prices that have risen 25 to 30 percent or more in just the last two or three months, and

Whereas, the continuing high energy costs only add another burden for Vermont’s farmers to confront, and

Whereas, Vermont farmers need federal agricultural disaster aid  immediately in order to assist them to purchase seed for the rapidly  approaching 2007 spring planting and to pay other debts resulting from the abnormal weather conditions of the last year, and

Whereas, the state of Vermont responded quickly and generously this past Summer when the Emergency Board authorized the expenditure of $8.6 million for agricultural disaster assistance, but this sum is far from enough to meet the basic financial requirements of Vermont’s farmers, and

Whereas, the immediacy of this crisis cannot be overemphasized; and without federal assistance, future prospects are bleak for many Vermont farmers and the associated infrastructure of the state’s farm economy, now therefore be it  

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress to appropriate federal funds, as quickly as possible for payment of agricultural disaster relief to Vermont’s financially pressed farmers, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns; to United States Senators Tom Harkin and Saxby Chambliss, chair and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; to United States Representatives Collin Peterson and Bob Goodlatte, chair and ranking minority, member respectively, of the House Committee on Agriculture; and to the members of the Vermont Congressional delegation.

____________________________              Attested to:

President of the Senate


____________________________              ____________________________

Speaker of the House                                     David A. Gibson

                                                                      Secretary of the Senate


Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont