Friday, December 26, 2014

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Farmers told federal drought relief not likely this year

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After a devastating year losing crops and cattle to drought or wildfires, farmers and ranchers probably won't see federal relief anytime soon.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said obtaining federal drought assistance this year would be an “uphill fight'' but promised to keep working for it.

Hutchison made the statement to a crowd of more than 1,200 Monday at the Texas Farm Bureau's 73rd annual convention in Arlington.

Texas is the nation's Number 2 agriculture state. It's also reeling from the worst-ever drought that caused an estimated $2.6 billion in crop losses and $1.5 billion in livestock industry losses this year.

The House and Senate have decided to send an unfinished budget to next year's Democratic-controlled Congress.

This week Congress is expected to approve continued funding for most federal programs at fiscal 2006 levels through mid-February. That's because neither chamber has agreed on any of the new spending bills for the fiscal year that began in October, except those covering defense and homeland security.

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