Loebsack renews call for Farm Bill after viewing drought damage

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It's a long, hard walk for Rep. Dave Loebsack, (D) Iowa, and Muscatine County farmer Doug Nolte.

"That is just amazing," Rep. Loebsack said, viewing crop damage at a farm near West Liberty. "Just how bad it is to see."

Each step seems to bring more bad news. Nearly half of Iowa's corn crop rates as poor to very poor. This field is no exception.

"There's no ears at all," Nolte said. "It's dried up, and there's no ears."

This farm reflects the uncertainty facing Iowa growers. A typical harvest will at least be cut in half at this location. That will force a greater reliance on crop insurance.

"It's a dire situation," said Rep. Loebsack. "It's getting worse by the day."

This fact-finding mission shows the real-life impact from drought. Extreme weather created depleted crops and a call for help.

Some of Nolte's plants look good at first glance. But a closer look reveals smaller ears with fewer kernels. That will cut back on any harvest.

Recent rains should help Nolte's soybean crop. It's a crucial  time in the field. After receiving just three inches of rain from May through July, the farm got three inches of rain during the last week.

The Congressional hands-on visit reinforces a call to pass the Farm Bill.

"I think it gives everybody some security in moving forward," Nolte said. "How to plan for years to come."

The Farm Bill cleared the Senate but remains stalled in the House. It requires passage by September 30.

"It's on both sides of the aisle," Rep. Loebsack added. "But it's the leadership in the House that has the responsibility to bring that bill forward, and they didn't do that."

It's a view from the field, step-by-step.