Daniels toured Indiana farms today with Agriculture Commissioner Andy Miller.
“I had hoped to find the damage to our agricultural sector might be limited or might be recoverable,” Daniels said. “That is not my impression after today. It appears much more likely that the damage is severe and will not be salvageable in many cases for the balance of this year.”
Daniels said he and Miller talked to both farmers and agriculture experts in about a dozen counties.
“We talked to farmers who feel it is highly unlikely they will be able to replant,” Daniels said. “The last date for corn is only about a week or more off and the land will still be wet. We talked to farmers who had already replanted once after the rains this spring, and now have lost two plantings.”In addition, he said, livestock farmers are facing additional pressures as the cost of feed is up. “Many of them have now seen these difficulties aggravated,” he said.
Daniels said he will investigate regulatory flexibility for environmental and rebuilding requirements at both the state and federal level to help farmers recover. He said he will be talking to Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer on Friday morning about such issues.
Meanwhile, folks across the state line in Illinois continue to feel like they're living in Forgotonia because of the inattentiveness of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and (can I say it?) Sen. Obama to their plight. Gov. Daniels has been all over TV news broadcasts in Terre Haute in West Central Indiana touring the flood damage and offering assistance. Folks watching across the border can only ask where their leaders are: “It’s a plea for help we need to have someone standing for us,” said flood victim, Gayle Bridges. They feel ignored. “We’re country folk, they don’t worry about us much,” said victim Ken Caughran. But officials say they’re doing all they can.