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Obama to Deliver Much Needed Aid to Drought-Stricken California

PALM SPRINGS — President Barack Obama will travel Friday to California and announce a new federal initiative aimed at helping farms and communities there in the grips of a devastating drought.

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In response to the state’s severe drought, Caltrans is launching a statewide educational campaign on the state’s highways, urging all Californians to conserve water. (Credit: California Department of Transportation)

The President will be joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who told reporters Thursday that the program will include $100 million in livestock disaster assistance for California farmers and producers, along with funding for water conservation projects, and aid for states across the country affected by the drought.

Vilsack says the President has directed several federal agencies to have the program up and running within 60 days, and he says the program will help cover losses for 2014 and the previous two years.

Funding for the drought-assistance program was included in the 2014 farm bill, which was passed by Congress and signed by the president last week.

The President will join Gov. Jerry Brown on a tour of a farm in the Fresno area and will also meet business leaders before delivering remarks.

Following the stop in Fresno, Obama travels to the Palm Springs area for a bilateral meeting and working dinner with King Abdullah II of Jordan. The president is scheduled to have down time over the weekend. He returns to Washington on Monday.