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Vilsack announces regional drought meetings

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA and other federal agencies will hold four joint regional meetings to discuss federal efforts that can be used to address the drought.

The first meeting will be held in Omaha, Neb., on October 9, with meetings to follow in Ohio, Colorado and Arkansas, Vilsack said in a news release.

USDA will coordinate the meetings with the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local agencies. The meetings will “explore issues ranging from infrastructure challenges to development and financing needs, attempting to look at the total recovery picture for the region,” Vilsack said.

The secretary noted that the government has designated all or parts of 39 states as drought areas and announced that the administration is implementing a national disaster recovery framework to link local, state, tribal and federal governments, the private sector and nongovernmental and community organizations that play vital roles in recovery.