Arkansas Declares State of Disaster

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared the entire state of Arkansas a disaster area. The declaration follows months of extreme weather in the state and across the South. Since the summer, Arkansas has experienced a string of severe and devastating weather extremes. Crops in the state have been battered by everything from drought, rain, floods, and hail.

The extreme weather is particularly harmful in Arkansas, where the largest and most significant industry in the state is agriculture. Given the importance of farming in the state, Arkansas can ill afford these sorts of damaging weather patterns without prompt assistance from the federal government.

The disaster declaration will make federal disaster funds available to struggling Arkansas farmers. Money from the Farm Service Agency, largely in the form of emergency loans, and funds from the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program will help farmers endure this recent disaster.

According to Arkansas Senator John Boozman, “The devastation we experienced in Arkansas earlier this year is on par with some of the most destructive recent natural disasters in our nation… This designation ensures our farmers and ranchers who were adversely affected by the recent tornadoes and flooding are eligible for assistance.  It is an important step forward for our agriculture community.”

In addition to relieving farmers, the USDA’s declaration highlights the precarious situation that many farmers and ranchers find themselves in. While agricultural profits and crop prices are higher than ever, the extreme weather of the spring and summer demonstrate that even good times can rapidly come to an end.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer