The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come through for Arkansas by making a drought disaster declaration for the state.
Arkansas' congressional delegation announced the decision this afternoon just hours after the group of senators and congressmen had sent a letter to the USDA supporting Governor Mike Beebe's request for the declaration on Tuesday.
U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman, along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack, and Mike Ross applauded the USDA's swift decision to designate 69 Arkansas counties as disaster areas, making farmers and ranchers eligible for financial assistance to help them recover from losses caused by severe drought in the spring and summer of 2012.
"Farmers throughout the state have been hit especially hard by this year's drought," Pryor said. "I appreciate USDA's immediate response, which will help keep farmers in business during a difficult time."
"I am pleased by the quick response from USDA. The struggles our local farmers and ranchers are facing as a result of this drought are putting their ability to earn a living at risk. In addition, less food on the market means higher prices, so this disaster affects us all," Boozman said.
"Farm families across Arkansas are being hurt by extreme drought. I applaud the USDA for taking quick action to ensure our producers will be able to stay in business during this hard time," Crawford said.
"Arkansas's agricultural community is a critical part of the state's economy. Thanks to the USDA's swift response to our request, farmers will get the emergency assistance they need to cope with this year's crippling drought," said Griffin.
"It's no secret that severe drought across the state this year has hurt a number of Arkansas farmers and their families," said Womack. "This quick action by the USDA will not only provide critical financial assistance to these families, but it helps sustain an important part of our state's economy during a difficult period for the farming community."
"Arkansas farmers and ranchers have faced numerous challenges this year because of severe drought conditions, making an already tough economic situation even worse. This designation will help compensate Arkansas's farmers and ranchers for production losses," Ross said.
Under this designation, farmers are eligible to apply for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). This assistance includes FSA Emergency Loans (EM), which provide funding to replace or restore property, pay production costs and essential living expenses, reorganize farming operations, or refinance certain debts. Farmers should contact their local Farm Service Agency Offices for more information.
Original story: (11:50 a.m.)
More Arkansas leaders are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to declare a drought disaster in the Natural State.
Arkansas's congressional delegation is backing up Governor Mike Beebe's request sent yesterday to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman, along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack, and Mike Ross today sent a joint letter (click here to read) to Vilsack.
After months of extreme drought, Governor Beebe yesterday requested a Secretarial Disaster Declaration to cover all 75 Arkansas counties.
If issued, this declaration would give Arkansas farmers and ranchers the option to apply for emergency loans through the Farm Service Agency. These loans will allow producers to continue operations and to meet financial obligations.