WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) called on U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today to provide more relief to North Dakota producers suffering because of the recent drought in the state. The request came as part of a bipartisan, bicameral effort letter led by Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to open relief programs to producers in the western United States who have lost crops and culled herds because of recent drought, wildfires, or extreme heat.

Due to the severity of the ongoing situation, we believe that additional federal assistance will be needed beyond what can be offered through current USDA drought relief programs,” the lawmakers wrote. “Therefore, in an effort to provide financial and other assistance to these producers, we respectfully request USDA explore all potential flexibilities for additional relief within existing programs and identify other options to deliver federal relief to producers in our states so they have the resources to overcome the extreme drought.”

The letter encourages USDA to work with Congress to provide technical assistance as lawmakers craft additional authorities and appropriations to address the 2020 and 2021 seasons that include drought, wildfire, and excessive heat-related losses.

To ensure his constituents have up-to-date information on available resources during this drought, Senator Cramer launched a 2021 drought webpage on his official website with relevant contact information and a Frequently Asked Questions section. Visit the webpage here. The senator spoke about the ongoing drought in an interview last week with Agri-Pulse. Click here to watch.

Senator Cramer and Representative DelBene are joined on the letter by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jeffrey Merkley (D-OR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Risch (R-ID), Jon Tester (D-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representatives Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Mike Simpson (ID-02), Kelly Armstrong (ND-At-Large), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Ami Bera (CA-07), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Liz Cheney (WY-At-Large), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Devin Nunes (CA-22), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Matt Rosendale (MT-At-Large), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Adam Smith (WA-09), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), and Mike Thompson (CA-05).