U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representatives Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4) and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6) have joined in requesting that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Edward Schafer issue an agricultural disaster declaration for Giles and Macon Counties in Tennessee to be considered primary natural disaster areas to help farmers who have suffered crop and livestock losses as a result of persistent drought conditions. This letter follows the request made this week by Governor Phil Bredesen.
According to the letter, “In these counties, below normal rainfall, low water levels and a rainfall deficit carried over from last year have caused farmers to lose as much as 35 – 65 percent of this year’s crop. Corn, soybeans, tobacco, hay, nursery, fruits and vegetables are among the major crops affected.” A designation from the 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.
“Drought conditions persist in our state and our farmers are feeling the pinch,” 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 Giles and Macon Counties disaster areas so that farmers can be compensated for their losses.”
“I am proud to support Governor Bredesen’s request for agriculture disaster assistance for these two counties,” Corker said. “The persistent drought conditions have resulted in significant losses for farmers across Tennessee, and it is my hope that the governor’s request will be swiftly approved so that eligible producers in Macon and Giles counties can begin to get the relief they desperately need.”
“As always, I am in total support of the Governor’s request for agriculture disaster assistance,” Congressman Davis said. “I’ve continuously heard from farmers in the district that they are still in dire need of assistance due to the prolonged drought.”
“Helping farmers in Macon and Giles whose harvests have been destroyed by the unrelenting drought is crucial,” said Gordon. “If the USDA approves Governor Bredesen’s request, it will not only help the affected farmers and their families, but also local economies, which have been hard hit by the current economic slowdown.”
A copy of the letter is attached.