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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

IA Farmers Opt for Federal Assistance to Weather Drought

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author Mark Moran, Producer-Editor

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Friday, October 21, 2022   

New data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows all of Iowa's 99 counties are abnormally dry, with a handful experiencing extreme drought conditions. A dozen counties have been declared disaster areas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has responded by making more than $800 million available for struggling farmers.

There never seems to be the perfect amount of rain for Midwest farmers, but this year's unpredictability of rainfall has added a new wrinkle to an already challenging profession.

Allen Berte, who farms about 700 acres in Kossuth County, said in all his years of farming, he's never had a year where one portion of his farm does well while another is either bone dry or completely underwater.

"On my one farm, that's kind of heavy ground, for some reason I had the worst crops I've ever had," he said. "Some of my farms did OK."

Berte, who farms corn and soybeans, said most of the cattle farmers he knows in Iowa have given up, simply because of the lack of moisture. Even with the possibility of federal assistance and careful planning, Berte acknowledged that his success or failure is largely up to Mother Nature.

Leah Ten Napel, a field agronomist with the Iowa State University Extension Service, said while the lack of rain gets most of the attention, every aspect of farming is affected by the drought, including the major economic decisions farmers have to make. And that goes for crop farmers and livestock producers alike who need to grow food for their cattle.

"It's a big decision on whether you're going to make the investment of fertilizing that pasture this year," she said. "If we don't get any rain and it doesn't get incorporated, is that money being thrown away?"

The USDA has allocated more than $3 billion for distressed farm-loan borrowers, with the goal of keeping farmers in their fields. They have to meet certain criteria to qualify for federal aid. The deadline to apply for federal aid is April 2023.


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