As the drought situation in Virginia continues to worsen, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has launched a new drought Web page to provide farmers with up-to-date information.

The site, http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/drought.shtml, gives resources for farmers such as information on Emergency Farm Loans and a list of Farm Service Agency offices, the Virginia Hay Clearing House Newsletter where farmers can list “hay to sell” or “hay wanted,” the weekly crop status report, and information on drought aid available from the USDA. It also posts drought-related news releases sent by VDACS and the Governor’s Office and highlights what the state is doing to try and obtain much-needed aid for Virginia’s farmers.

Todd P. Haymore, VDACS Commissioner, said, “During this critical drought situation, farmers need a single source of information about the drought and what the state is doing to try and alleviate the situation. While we can’t make it rain, we can provide resources and we will continue to advocate for financial assistance for our farmers with significant losses.”

Toward that end, Governor Kaine sent a letter to the Virginia Congressional delegation encouraging them to support legislation offering direct aid to farmers. The Governor also requested a statewide drought declaration from the USDA. On Oct. 18, the USDA designated 78 counties and 34 independent cities primary drought disaster areas, which, with previous disaster designations, will make farmers statewide eligible to apply for low interest loans.

“I am committed to doing everything we can to assist farmers during this on-going drought,” said Commissioner Haymore. He added that farmers without internet access may call 804-786-3947 for hay information.