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Relief for Arkansas farmers is on the way

Relief is on the way for eligible Arkansas farmers who have been struggling to stay afloat amid the recent droughts in our area.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Throughout the past few months, Arkansas has been in a state of drought.

 Although recently we've had a bit of rainfall, it still hasn't been enough to help some producers in the natural state.

"The drought has been going on for about two months now [and] that severely hurt our pastures," said John McMinn with Arkansas Farm Bureau.

While the entire farming industry has taken a big hit, McMinn mentioned that the dry conditions have hindered hay production for cattle producers. 

"Whatever hay they were going to feed now is also hay they were going to feed later in the year when hay production isn't really existing," McMinn said. 

That has also caused a big financial impact. 

"Over $95 million loss and production we've seen on the hay production," McMinn said.

Currently, 20 Arkansas counties are considered disaster designation areas.  And farmers in those disaster areas are eligible for drought assistance through small interest loans. 

According to, McMinn, farmers have spent more money due to the lack of production, so emergency funding will hopefully add some relief.

Two things are needed in order to be eligible for drought assistance. 

"They have to prove that animals are used for food production or commercial production," McMinn said.

Secondly, farmers will need to provide financial records like purchase receipts and bookkeeping.

"You have a whole lot of perfect storm situations right now that are causing farmers a lot of high prices," McMinn described.

He also said that it's likely cattle farmers will have a tough time for the next couple of months as they continue to try and stay afloat.

"If this continues, they're going to have to sell cows that they normally wouldn't. These cows that they'd keep back to rebuild their herd every year," McMinn said.

Eligible growers who are interested in the drought assistance program should reach out to a Farm Service Agency near them.

The deadline to apply is December 8, and farmers can find more information here.

   

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