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Delegation Notifies USDA of Agricultural Damage Caused by Easter Freeze

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Delegation Notifies USDA of Agricultural Damage Caused by Easter Freeze

Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, along with U.S. Reps. Marion Berry, Vic Snyder, John Boozman and Mike Ross today encouraged USDA Secretary Mike Johanns, to expeditiously consider the state's upcoming request for a disaster declaration. The congressional delegation's request follows extensive damage to agriculture crops throughout the state, which occurred April 6-9th. Members of the delegation sent the following letter of support:

Dear Secretary Johanns:

We write to inform you of an upcoming agriculture disaster declaration request that you will soon receive from the Governor of Arkansas. It is our understanding that Governor Beebe will formally make this request in the coming days after state assessments are complete.

As you may know, parts of Arkansas experienced record low temperatures earlier this month that caused extensive damage to agricultural crops throughout the state. The unforeseen and unseasonable below-freezing temperatures lasted multiple days and decimated a large variety and quantity of crops. Since the freeze, we have received numerous reports of damaged or destroyed crops from farmers and agriculture analysts that are quite startling. The cold spell, which occurred April 6-9th, negatively impacted both specialty crop producers growing everything from grapes to pecans and row crop farmers growing wheat, corn, rice and soybeans.

We anticipate Farm Service Agency data collected in your forthcoming Damage Assessment Report (DAR) will provide similar figures and meet the necessary criteria for Secretarial action. Your immediate attention to our state's request and your assistance in helping Arkansas farmers get back on their feet is greatly appreciated. If we can be of further assistance to you throughout this process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for considering this request and looking into this matter. We appreciate your assistance.

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