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Public Statements

Letter to The Honorable Mike Johanns, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Alexander, Corker Join Tenn. Delegation In Requesting Disaster Declaration For Drought
from the Office of Senator Bob Corker

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker joined other members of the Tennessee Congressional Delegation Tuesday in asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns to issue an agricultural disaster declaration for all 95 Tennessee counties due to the results of the ongoing drought.

"In June I saw firsthand the devastating impact this drought has had on our state," said Alexander who last month visited with about 40 farmers at the family farm of David Richesin in Philadelphia, TN. "These farmers told me they couldn't remember in their lifetimes a drought affecting so many people and so many communities. In fact, the five-month period from January through May was the state's driest such period in 118 years, and it is entirely appropriate to use federal disaster-relief funds to help these farmers recover from their losses."

"The combination of the April freeze and summer drought has delivered two successive setbacks to farmers and livestock producers across our state, and on Monday I'll be visiting a Tennessee farm to see the effects firsthand," said Corker. "We appreciate the USDA's earlier designation to assist farmers affected by the freeze, and hope they will respond promptly to this request to help get farmers affected by the drought the assistance they desperately need."

A copy of the letter is included below.

The Honorable Mike Johanns
Secretary
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to urge you to approve the State of Tennessee's request for an agricultural disaster declaration for all 95 counties across Tennessee as a result of the effects of a continuing drought. Governor Phil Bredesen is requesting the declaration so that qualifying farmers would be able to receive low-interest emergency loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with any other assistance that might be approved by Congress.

According to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the five-month period of January through May 2007 was the driest such period in Tennessee in 118 years. Many of our livestock producers have sold entire herds due to a lack of hay and watering sources. Additionally, specialty crop producers, who already experienced significant losses in the April freeze, are now suffering from the drought. Though the extent of the damage has not yet been determined, most farmers will need a full season to recover.

Thank you for your consideration of Tennessee's request for assistance. Please feel free to contact our offices should any additional information be needed.

Sincerely,

Bob Corker
United States Senator

Lamar Alexander
United States Senator

Marsha Blackburn
Member of congress

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress

David Davis
Member of Congress

Lincoln Davis
Member of Congress

John Duncan
Member of Congress

Bart Gordon
Member of Congress

John Tanner
Member of Congress

Zach Wamp
Memberof Congress


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