Relief is on the way for eligible Arkansas farmers struggling to stay afloat amid recent droughts in our region.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – For the past several months, Arkansas has been in a state of drought.
Although recently we had some rain, it still wasn’t enough to help some growers in the wild.
“The drought has been going on for about two months now [and] that have severely damaged our pastures,” said John McMinn of the Arkansas Farm Bureau.
While the entire agriculture industry has been hit hard, McMinn said the dry conditions have hampered hay production for cattle farmers.
“Whatever hay they were going to give now, that’s also hay they were going to give later in the year, when hay production doesn’t really exist,” McMinn said.
It also caused a big financial impact.
“We’ve seen over $95 million in loss and production in hay production,” McMinn said.
Currently, 20 counties in Arkansas are considered disaster designation areas. And farmers in these disaster areas are eligible for drought assistance through low-interest loans.
According to McMinn, farmers have spent more money due to lack of production, so the emergency funding will hopefully provide some relief.
Two things are needed to be eligible for drought relief.
“They have to prove that the animals are used for food production or commercial production,” McMinn said.
Second, farmers will need to provide financial documents such as purchase receipts and accounting.
“You have a lot of perfect storm situations right now that are driving high prices for farmers,” McMinn described.
He also said cattle farmers are likely to face a tough time over the next two months as they continue to try to stay afloat.
“If this continues, they’re going to have to sell cows that they wouldn’t normally sell. Those cows that they would keep to rebuild their herd every year,” McMinn said.
Eligible growers who are interested in the drought relief program should contact an agricultural service agency near them.
The deadline to apply is December 8, and farmers can find more information here.