I filed an amendment today to the port security bill before the Senate to provide $6.5 billion in emergency agricultural disaster assistance to help agricultural producers struggling from the ongoing drought. Our drought-stricken communities need this immediate relief. Last month I toured the drought stricken regions of Nebraska including Lake McConaughy and the Northwest Nebraska communities that recently had to fight wildfires and now must recover from the devastation.

We need to address this issue this week and I want to attach the emergency disaster assistance amendment to the port security bill (H.R. 4954) being discussed this week. Recent maps provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska’s National Drought Mitigation Center show the entire central United States suffering from drought conditions categorized as severe, extreme or exceptional. The western two-thirds of Nebraska are currently suffering from severe to extreme drought.

These ongoing drought conditions have severely impacted agriculture in Nebraska—costing nearly $342 million this year alone, according to a recent report from the NDMC. Irrigation costs are up and grazing losses in Western Nebraska range from 50 to 70 percent. Agriculture producers in Nebraska and other states are struggling with a multi-year drought and Congress has failed to respond adequately. The problem is getting worse and Washington needs to get something done to help the farmers and ranchers struggling from this natural disaster.