Tennessee Qualifies for Disaster Relief
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said earlier this week that 14 counties had qualified for federal disaster relief assistance. Excessive heat and drought from earlier in 2011 prompted the disaster designation.
Tennessee, like much of the rest of the country, has been experiencing a prolonged drought. Crop losses of up to 30% have been reported across the state, ranging from corn and soybeans to tobacco.
Haslam lauded the Agriculture Department in his statement, stating, "Agriculture is crucial to the state and plays a significant role in our rural economy." I'm glad that USDA responded so quickly to my request. I hope that this aid will assist eligible farmers in recovering and preparing for the upcoming growing season."
Blount, Cumberland, Fayette, Fentress, Haywood, Loudon, McMinn, Macon, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, and Wilson are among the counties in dispute. Farmers and ranchers in these counties have been struggling to keep their businesses afloat amid the drought conditions.
The disaster relief assistance will come in the form of low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency. Farmers and ranchers can use these loans to cover production and property losses, as well as pay for essential living expenses.
While this government assistance is welcome news for many farmers and ranchers in Tennessee, it is important to note that it is not a long-term solution to the problem of drought. Farmers and ranchers will still need to find ways to conserve water and protect their crops and livestock from the effects of the drought. This is why a lot of them are seeking out other agricultural financing loans that can offer more flexible terms and conditions. It is important to remember that the disaster relief loans from the government are not meant to be a replacement for private agricultural financing.