Obama pledges all-out response to drought

August 11, 2012 - 5:40 AM
Drought Crop Estimates

In this photo taken July 16, 2012, harvested corn is dumped from a combine, left, into a hopper being towed by a tractor near Altheimer, Ark. The U.S. Agriculture Department Friday, Aug. 10, cut its projected U.S. corn production by 17 percent from its forecast in July, and 13 percent from last year. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is pledging a wide-ranging response to the worst drought in a quarter-century.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says his administration is giving farmers and ranchers access to low-interest emergency loans, is opening more federal land for grazing and is distributing $30 million to get water to livestock.

Obama says Congress needs to pass a farm bill to ensure a long-term solution.

Lawmakers have asked Obama to relax ethanol production targets, citing low corn supplies and spiking prices. An Obama spokesman says officials are keeping a close eye on corn yields but have made no decision.

In the Republican address, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi says Obama should work with Congress to avoid $110 billion in automatic spending cuts required by a deficit-cutting plan.

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Online:

Obama address: www.whitehouse.gov

GOP address: http://www.youtube.com/gopweeklyaddress