The Arkansas Agriculture Department will distribute assistance to Arkansas poultry growers who lost delivery contracts when a poultry processing company they were serving filed for bankruptcy.

Funding for the assistance will be from the USDA. Nine states – Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas -- will share $60 million provided under a bloc grant agreement. Allocations of funds among states will be determined after applications have been received.

Arkansas poultry growers are eligible for assistance if they had a poultry-growing arrangement terminated by a poultry company which filed bankruptcy during the 30-day period beginning Dec. 1, 2008; had their arrangement terminated before July 1, 2010; and did not enter into another arrangement for one month after termination. Applications must be received by November 18 to be eligible for the program.

Assistance will be calculated at 95 percent of a grower’s production receipts for the most recent 12 months prior to termination of grower’s arrangement with the processor.

Assistance is limited to $100,000 per grower. An eligible grower must be in compliance with USDA’s conservation provisions as well as with requirements related to off-farm income.

The Arkansas Agriculture Department is meeting with Arkansas poultry growers to explain the program and accept applications. Meetings are scheduled for Cave City, Ark., on Oct. 26 and at El Dorado, Ark., on Oct. 28.