Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Looking back on 2012, giving thanks

JoelMy favorite email of the year consisted of just three words: “We got rain.”

That was the full text of an email I received this fall from a Texas rancher who was following up after we had helped him out with a drought grant from the Farm Aid Family Farm Disaster Fund.

But just as drought comes on slowly, a great, silent ghost slipping over the countryside over many months, its departure is hard to reckon as well. Toss climate change and global warming into the mix—hello, Sandy!—and odds are we haven’t seen the last of drought, or off-the-chart storms, for a good long while.

A glance at the national Drought Monitor Map for last week offers a stark reminder that though the historic drought of 2012 has eased a bit, much of the continental U.S. remains in conditions ranging from abnormally dry to extreme drought, with great swaths of farm and ranch land in South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as smaller areas of Alabama, Georgia and Texas, remaining in exceptional drought conditions.

As the holidays approach and winter sets in, now is a good time to remind your farm and ranch friends and neighbors that thanks to donations to our Family Farm Disaster Fund, Farm Aid continues to provide drought relief to farm and ranch families hard hit by drought.

Our drought relief assistance targets especially those farms and ranches not adequately covered by or included in federal, state or other drought disaster programs.

Farm Aid Farmer Resource Network member organizations in several states have worked closely with us this year on drought relief, including the Sustainable Food Center in Texas, the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, the Kansas Farmers Union, Family Farm Defenders in Wisconsin, Hoosier Organic Marketing & Education (HOME) in Indiana, and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund across the South.

We are also helping the National Family Farm Coalition fly farmers into Washington, DC, to speak to lawmakers about the need not only to retain, but to improve federal disaster programs for all the nation’s farmers.

Just as Farm Aid gives thanks this week to the nation’s family farmers for sustaining us all, day in and day out, we also thank you for your continued commitment to keeping family farmers on the land. Have a safe, happy Thanksgiving.

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