The USDA this week announced several new actions to provide relief to drought-stricken farmers and ranchers, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke with AgriTalk Radio’s Mike Adams on Wednesday to outline the administration’s efforts.

On Tuesday, President Obama convened the White House Rural Council, which Vilsack chairs, to review Executive Branch actions and consider policy initiatives related to the drought. Following that meeting, the White House and USDA announced the new measures.

Vilsack says the President has been clear in instructing him and the rest of the Rural Council to continue looking for ways to provide help and assistance, and he expects to announce more initiatives as opportunities arise. He stresses, however, that while the Executive Branch can provide some relief, it is critical for the House of Representatives to return from recess in September and complete work on the 2012 farm bill before September 30.