U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representatives Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn. 7) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Bedford, Hickman, Moore and Perry counties in Tennessee as “primary natural disaster areas,” making farmers in these counties and contiguous areas eligible to apply for federal farm disaster programs through their local Farm Service Agency office.
In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on June 4, the delegation members joined Governor Phil Bredesen in requesting a federal disaster declaration for these counties “to help farmers who have suffered crop losses and damage to farm equipment and structures as a result of excessive rain and extensive flooding that occurred in May.”
USDA also named 13 counties as “contiguous disaster counties,” including Benton, Coffee, Decatur, Dickson, Franklin, Humphreys, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Rutherford, Wayne and Williamson.
“I’m glad to see that this declaration has come through for our farmers in Middle Tennessee,” Senator Lamar Alexander said. “Farmers affected by the floods earlier this year will now be able to apply for assistance to help recover their losses.”
“At this time of economic hardship, I’m pleased the USDA has made federal assistance available for Tennessee farmers who have suffered losses caused by the May rains and flooding,” Senator Bob Corker said. “I hope this designation and subsequent assistance will provide some help to these farmers so they can get back on their feet.”
“Our farms are extremely vulnerable to any type of weather related occurrence and receiving federal assistance is often their only recourse in making an uncontrollable situation better. I applaud Secretary Vilsack’s disaster designation for the farmers in these counties,” said Congressman Lincoln Davis, a member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
“The extreme storms in May destroyed crop yields and damaged the equipment and farming structures of countless Tennessee farmers,” said Congressman Bart Gordon. “With this declaration, the many affected farmers and their families can begin to rebuild and prepare for the next farming season.”
“Farms in Tennessee are an important part of our economy and our culture. This USDA disaster funding is urgently needed and very welcome as farmers recover from May’s violent weather,” said Congressman Marsha Blackburn.
A copy of the announcement from USDA is attached.