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updated: 8/11/2012 9:33 AM

Obama pledges all-out response to drought

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is pledging a wide-ranging response to the worst drought in a quarter-century.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says his administration is giving farmers and ranchers access to low-interest emergency loans, is opening more federal land for grazing and is distributing $30 million to get water to livestock.

Obama says Congress needs to pass a farm bill to ensure a long-term solution.

Lawmakers have asked Obama to relax ethanol production targets, citing low corn supplies and spiking prices. An Obama spokesman says officials are keeping a close eye on corn yields but have made no decision.

In the Republican address, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi says Obama should work with Congress to avoid $110 billion in automatic spending cuts required by a deficit-cutting plan.

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