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Drought disaster declared for Oklahoma, Arkansas

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 9, 2013 at 11:57 a.m.

— The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 76 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties and nearly two-thirds of Arkansas’ counties as primary natural disaster areas due to ongoing drought conditions.

Wednesday’s declaration makes farmers in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans of 2.15 percent.

In Oklahoma — only Ottawa County is not a primary disaster area — but farmers there are also eligible because the county is contiguous to those in the primary disaster declaration.

The 47 of 75 Arkansas counties that are primary disaster areas are in the northwestern two-thirds of the state and farmers in counties contiguous to those counties are also eligible for federal assistance.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack designated a total of 597 counties in 14 states as primary natural disaster areas in the declaration.

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countryfarmgirl says... January 9, 2013 at 7:38 p.m.

My husband and I have been farming for over 30 yrs. Recently the NRCS had fund to help farmer in the drought counties. We had been feeding hay to our cattle since May 2012. We applied only later to find out we were not approved along with lots of other farmers in our county. The county we live in received over $600,000 for drought assistance. There were over 200 farmers in our county that applied. There was 42 approved. Several Farmers received almost $50,000 each. Several of those that were approved serve on state agencies, or the county committee that oversees the NRCS program or retired state or federal employees. The name can be found out by freedom of information act. I do not have a problem with them receiving funds if they quality like everyone else. But all of us farmers who applied need help. Would it not have been nice if the money would have been divided amount all the farmer who asked for help. I feel that someone need to look into how these committees or agency disperse fund. We have tried before to get farm assistance only to be turned down, when we do the same as some of our neighbors. I wish someone one look into these program and treat all of us the same.

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