The Governor's Office is asking U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for a Secretarial Disaster Designation to cover all 75 counties in Arkansas. Persistently dry conditions now have caused 88 percent of the state to be in a severe drought and 36 percent of the state is in an extreme drought.
"It will take much more than the recent scattered rain to break these drought conditions," Governor Beebe said. "Many of our farmers and ranchers face a tough season ahead, and the federal government can provide them with tools to ease the financial impact of crop losses."
If issued, the declaration would qualify eligible farmers and ranchers to receive emergency loans to support operations hampered by the drought. Beebe sent the U.S. Department of Agriculture a similar request for 13 drought-stricken Arkansas counties last month, a request that will now be supplanted by the statewide application.
Farmers and ranchers with any questions about the request or the loans it may provide should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.