Rep. Don Davis Urges USDA to Designate NC 1st District as Disaster Area Due to Drought

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Don Davis (NC-01) announces sending a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, calling for the immediate designation of all 19 counties in North Carolina’s First Congressional District as disaster areas due to the severe drought conditions affecting the region.

“The situation has worsened since my public call last week for an emergency declaration due to drought. Three counties in North Carolina’s First Congressional District have seen the drought worsen to a D2 or severe drought level,” said Congressman Don Davis. “Sixteen others are still at D1 levels and seeing conditions further deteriorate. This letter formally requests USDA Secretary Vilsack to step in now to get federal assistance out the door.”

In the letter to Secretary Vilsack, Congressman Davis highlighted the critical situation facing farmers and producers in his district. The United States Drought Monitor reports that three counties in the First Congressional District are experiencing D2 or severe drought levels, while sixteen counties are at D1 or moderate drought levels. The drought’s impact is widespread, with all one hundred counties in North Carolina experiencing varying degrees of drought conditions.

“The economic impact of this drought is not limited to the farming sector,” explained Congressman Davis. “It also affects local businesses that rely on the agricultural industry, creating a ripple effect felt throughout many rural communities.”

The drought’s impact extends beyond North Carolina, with states from Georgia to Maryland facing similar damaging drought levels, underscoring the need for a united response to this crisis. Agriculture is North Carolina’s top industry, with the eastern region being particularly vital. North Carolina ranks ninth nationally with an industry value of $111.1 billion, and the First Congressional District alone produces and sells more than $2.989 billion of agricultural products annually.

With the hurricane season approaching, the risk of increased flooding losses for family farms is also a significant concern. Hurricane winds and flooding can easily sweep away topsoil and nutrients, leaving eastern North Carolina vulnerable to further damage.

“I look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack and the USDA team to address the current drought situation and ensure that farmers in North Carolina’s First Congressional District receive the necessary assistance,” stated Congressman Davis. “We must come together to support our agricultural community during this challenging time.”

The letter to USDA can be found here

Image: Rep. Don Davis showing map of North Carolina drought coverage on July 2, 2024 in Edgecombe County. Photo credit Mike Davis/SFN.