USDA News Release



Release No. 0011.99


Tom Amontree ((202) 720-4623
Dann Stuart (202) 690-0474


WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 1999 Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman today announced the development of a special commission to help develop a new national drought policy.

The National Drought Policy Commission will conduct a study of current Federal, State, local and tribal drought preparedness, and review laws and programs to determine if deficiencies exist in current relief policies and resources. It will make recommendations on ways to integrate Federal and non-Federal drought relief programs to improve services without infringing on State control of water resources, and recommend measures for public education on drought prevention and mitigation.

"This Commission illustrates a bi-partisan commitment to improving the emergency relief measures that proved lacking during the drought disasters of the past several growing seasons," said Glickman. "While we are committed to improving the safety net for farmers, we want to make sure we are delivering the services that are available as efficiently as possible."

The Commission is authorized by the National Drought Policy Act (Public Law 105-199), which President Clinton signed into law July 16, 1998. The Act designates the Department of Agriculture to provide all administrative services for the Commission, and the Secretary of Agriculture serves as chairman. The Commission is required to submit a report to the President and Congress detailing its findings, conclusions, and recommendations no later than January 16, 2000.

  • In addition to Secretary Glickman, other members of the Commission include:
  • The Secretary of the Interior or a designee;
  • The Secretary of the Army or a designee;
  • The Secretary of Commerce or a designee;
  • The Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or a designee;
  • The Administrator of the Small Business Administration or a designee;
  • Two persons nominated by the National Governors' Association and appointed by the President, one the governor of a State east of the Mississippi, and the other governor of a State west of the Mississippi;
  • A person nominated by the National Association of Counties and appointed by the President;
  • A person nominated by the United States Conference of Mayors and appointed by the President; and
  • Six persons, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture in coordination with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of the Army, representing groups acutely affected by drought emergencies. Such groups include the agricultural production community, the credit community, rural and urban water associations, Native Americans, and fishing and environmental interests.

USDA has issued a Federal Register Notice soliciting nominations for the six at-large members of the Commission. Notice 99-651 allows 30 days for members of the public to submit their applications. Copies of the National Drought Policy Act and the Federal Register Notice are available on the National Drought Policy Commission's website at


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