The USDA has designated the entire state of Arkansas, which includes 75 counties, as a primary natural disaster area due to losses caused by the combined effects of hail, high winds, flooding, widespread drought and excessive heat that began April 1, 2011, and continues.

“Arkansas producers can continue to count on USDA to provide emergency assistance during these difficult times,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to reducing the impact of this disaster for Arkansas producers and we will commit all available resources to help in the recovery.”

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties or parishes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

  • Louisiana: Bossier, Claiborne, Morehouse, Webster, Caddo, East Carroll, Union, and West Carroll.
  • Mississippi: Bolivar, Coahoma, De Soto, Issaquena, Tunica, and Washington.
  • Missouri: Barry, Dunklin, McDonald, Ozark, Ripley, Taney, Butler, Howell, Oregon, Pemiscot, and Stone.
  • Oklahoma:Adair, Delaware, Le Flore, McCurtain, and Sequoyah.
  • Tennessee:Dyer, Lauderdale, Shelby, and Tipton.
  • Texas:Bowie and Cass.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Sept. 7, 2011, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.