Arkansas farmers and ranchers affected by weather-related disasters are one step closer to seeing relief, according to the state’s Sen. Blanche Lincoln, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

On May 28, the House passed legislation that includes Lincoln’s $1.5 billion disaster package. The Senate passed similar legislation in March.

“This relief will protect the 270,000 Arkansas jobs agriculture provides and will give farmers the certainty they need to stay in business,” Lincoln said. “House passage of this legislation is a positive step forward and this disaster assistance package is now one step away from becoming law.

Lincoln’s disaster package would provide an estimated $1.1 billion in supplemental payments to producers who suffered crop losses in counties declared “primary” disaster areas by the USDA. Also included is $300 million to assist specialty crop producers, $75 million in emergency loans to poultry producers, $50 million in assistance for livestock producers, $25 million in aquaculture assistance and $42 million to aid first handlers of cottonseed.