EVERETT INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO HELP FARMERS BUILD OWN RESERVOIRS
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To assist American farmers in dealing with drought conditions and also enable them to increase their farm productivity, Congressman Terry Everett, R-Alabama, introduced the Farm Reservoir Act in the U.S. House today.
Everett, a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, said the need for on-the-farm drought management has become increasingly evident as farmers and the government struggle to keep ahead of the effects of Mother Nature.
"In recent years, droughts have had a costly impact on agricultural producers throughout the country," Everett notes. "The current drought conditions for the 2005 and 2006 crop years underscore the devastating toll these natural disasters have on our nation's farmers and ranchers.
"Ad hoc government disaster assistance is often slow and inadequate, and frankly, a better use of tax dollars would be to help farmers minimize the impact of drought on their crop before disaster strikes.
"My legislation," Everett added, "would provide cost-share assistance to agriculture producers for the construction of reservoirs on their farms. For many farmers, pumping water from streams, lakes and wells during the growing season is not an option. However, by collecting and storing surface water in reservoirs during the off-season, when rainfall and stream levels are typically high, farmers can attain an effective source of irrigation.
"As population growth places more demand on water resources, we will need new sources of irrigation water," Everett observed. "Off-stream irrigation storage, which is made possible by my legislation, has the potential to greatly expand agricultural irrigation capacity and make farming more productive."
Under the Everett Farm Reservoir Act, cost share assistance would be provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to assist farmers with the construction of reservoirs.
The maximum amount of cost share assistance is 50 percent of the cost of the reservoir. In order to qualify, a project must meet EQIP eligibility requirements and be deemed eligible based on its cost-effectiveness. The producer must maintain agricultural production on the land for at least five years.