President of Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) Ina Selfridge, Burdette, Kan., has announced a stepped-up campaign to promote disaster assistance for rural America.

“The economy of all of Rural America has been adversely affected by the multiple natural disasters of the last two years,” states Selfridge.

“These disasters have reached into the pockets of those not in production agriculture and made them realize that this ugly quirk of nature may be just as devastating to their personal worlds as it is to their neighbors — the farmers and ranchers.”

Using the theme of “The Domino Effect”, WIFE will demonstrate that farm and ranch financial woes adversely affect the finances of many others in rural America. Just like dominoes standing side by side, when agriculture producers are toppled by adverse weather conditions, other businesses, communities, churches, and local, county, and state governments are also toppled.

WIFE is joining 37 other farm organizations in calling for Congress to pass immediate emergency disaster assistance and for President Bush to sign that legislation. WIFE says disaster assistance is vital for the economic recovery of Rural American.

Keeping American agriculture strong will insure a safe, secure domestic supply of food for our nation and protect our national security by preventing our dependence on foreign agriculture.

Historically, Selfridge says, Congress has stepped forward with emergency assistance for all types of natural disasters, whether hurricane, drought, earthquake, fire, or flood.

“The weather and disease problems confronting American agriculture in both 2001 and 2002 should also be covered by emergency disaster assistance out of the general budget,” she says.

Producers used crop insurance, disaster loans, emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acreage, and the Livestock Compensation Program (LCP) to help them get by in 2002. However, these programs did not effectively compensate for the financial devastation caused by natural disasters that are beyond the farmers' and ranchers' control.