Disaster assistance available for Arkansas farmers, ranchers

Disaster aid was announced Thursday (Jan. 10) for farmers and ranchers in 61 Arkansas counties as a result of damages from the 2012 drought.

The announcement was made by the offices of U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and John Boozman, R-Ark., and U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, and Steve Womack, R-Rogers.

“With our state still reeling from last year’s drought, it’s important that we give Arkansas farmers and ranchers the tools and resources they need to get back on their feet,” Pryor said in the statement. “This disaster declaration will help producers recover and ensure that our agricultural sector remains strong.”

Under this designation, Arkansas producers will be eligible to apply for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for up to 8 months. This assistance will include 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.

Producers should contact their local Farm Service Agency Offices for more information.

Arkansas counties included in the disaster declaration include: Arkansas, Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Crawford, Crittenden, Dallas, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Garland, Grant, Greene, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Little River, Logan, Lonoke, Madison, Marion, Miller, Mississippi, Monroe, Montgomery, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Pike, Polk, Poinsett, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sevier, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, Washington, White, Woodruff, and Yell.

“Agriculture is our state’s largest industry and it took quite a hit during last year’s record drought. This disaster declaration is the first step toward getting much needed emergency assistance for Arkansas’s farmers and ranchers. We need to continue our work to help family farmers and ranchers recover from the challenges brought on from the drought and to pass a five-year farm bill to provide them stability for the future,” Boozman said.

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Womack noted in the statement that drought conditions have continued into 2013.

“Arkansas’s Third District was hit particularly hard by drought in 2012, and those conditions have continued into 2013,” Womack said. “This disaster declaration will help ensure farmers and ranchers have access to the assistance necessary to recover from the losses they have experienced.” 

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