Congressman Bruce Westerman's Weekly Column

Fighting the Drought in Arkansas

It is no secret to Arkansans that this summer has been an unusually dry season, resulting in moderate to severe drought throughout the state. Some areas have not recorded rainfall for over a month, and the National Weather Service predicts the drought will persist for the foreseeable future.

These conditions are catastrophic for our farmers and producers. I have heard from many constituents who are suffering during this abnormal drought, especially poultry and cattle farmers who are struggling to provide for their animals. Some cattle farms have unfortunately reported resorting to reducing their herds. Any loss of production is detrimental not only to Arkansas, but also to the entire country who relies on the industry to keep us fed and clothed. Further, 53 of 75 counties in Arkansas are now under active burn bans to avoid forest fires.

In response, I sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack supporting Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for the state of Arkansas. A Secretarial Disaster Declaration would allow farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers to apply for Emergency Farm Loans. As Americans struggle with inflation and a potential food crisis, the federal government must take any threat to the agriculture industry incredibly seriously.

I will continue to monitor the situation closely and ensure folks are aware of all programs available to them. Agriculture is the lifeblood of Arkansas and must be protected.

7-22-22 9:45 AM KAWX.ORG