U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representatives David Davis (R-Tenn. 1), John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn. 2), Zach Wamp (R-Tenn. 3), Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6), and John Tanner (D-Tenn. 8) have joined in requesting that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Edward Schafer issue an agricultural disaster declaration for 28 counties across Tennessee to help farmers who have suffered crop and livestock losses as a result of persistent drought conditions.
A letter sent by the Members stated that, “In these counties across Tennessee, below normal rainfall, low water levels, and a rainfall deficit carried over from last year have caused farmers to lose as much as 35-70 percent of this year’s crop.” A designation from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would allow qualifying farmers to receive federal farm disaster assistance that could help them manage losses and plan for next year.
“Tennessee farmers have had a tough couple of years because of the persistent dry weather we’ve had in our state,” Alexander said. “Following Governor Bredesen’s request, I’m glad to join these other members of the Tennessee delegation in requesting the secretary of agriculture to declare these 28 counties disaster areas so that farmers can be compensated for their losses.”
"Helping struggling farmers is important for our state's economy, particularly at a time when our nation is facing a financial crisis that affects every American," Corker said. "I thank Governor Bredesen for his leadership in requesting this federal assistance and I'm proud to join with members of the Tennessee Congressional delegation in asking Secretary Shafer to act quickly on behalf of Tennessee farmers.”
"Tennessee's hardworking farmers are continuously being hampered because of the unrelenting drought," said Congressman Lincoln Davis. "I join Governor Bredesen and our congressional delegation in urging Secretary Schafer to declare the 28 counties, 9 of which are located in my district, a disaster area."
“I am hopeful we can secure federal support for Tennessee farmers as they deal with the effects of this most recent drought,” said Congressman Duncan. “These farmers work hard every day to put food on our table and contribute to our Nation’s economy, and we should be there for them when times get tough.”
“Farmers in Tennessee have a hard enough time with high fuel costs and inflation setting in, we must get them relief as soon as possible," said Congressman Wamp. "The Tennessee delegation is urging the USDA to consider designating these counties to provide relief to help Tennessee farmers caught in this serious situation."
“This draught has not only hurt countless farmers throughout Tennessee, it has taken a toll on their families and the county economies,” said Congressman Bart Gordon. “Federal disaster assistance, which we are urging the USDA to grant, is vital to helping these farmers and their families recover and prepare for the start of the next farming season.”
“I am glad to sign on to the request for disaster relief designation with the other Congressional Members of the Tennessee Delegation for the counties in the 1st District, as well as for the other counties in Tennessee,” said Congressman David Davis. “The farmers have experienced difficult economic conditions due to the continued drought and I am hopeful the Secretary of Agriculture will issue the declaration.”
The counties include: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Cannon, Coffee, Fentress, Franklin, Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Henry, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, Polk, Scott, Unicoi, Warren, Washington and Weakley.