U.S. President Barack Obama is going to make it rain money to ensure the nation's livestock get enough water and to fight rising food prices during one of the country's worst droughts in half a century.
The president addressed the nation Saturday to outline the federal government's response to the drought. July was the hottest month on record, and one-fifth of the country is suffering from extreme or exceptional drought conditions, Obama said. He added that the feds had set aside an additional $30 million in drought aid for farmers and ranchers.
"Many folks are seeing their livelihoods dry up in front of their eyes. And if we don't get relief soon, Americans everywhere will start feeling the pinch, with higher prices on grocery-store shelves all across the country," Obama said.
The U.S. corn crop in particular has been damaged by the drought, which has made it difficult for ranchers to feed their cattle. One big aspect is fighting the drought is getting water where it is most needed, an effort the $30 million in aid will help fund. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies have also been working to provide access to low-interest emergency loans in 32 states, Obama said. Likewise, federal land has been opened for grazing and hay harvesting.
Ranchers in the Midwest have resorted to buying water and carrying it by truck to their livestock as ponds and streams have dried up, according to the Associated Press. Local weathermen have literally been frying eggs on sidewalks to exemplify how high temperatures have soared. One of the few upsides to the searing temperatures is that there have been record low numbers of tornadoes as a result of the hot weather.
Meanwhile, the president took advantage of his address on the drought Saturday to call on Congress to pass the languishing farm bill.