Sanders Supports USDA Disaster Assistance for Arkansas Agriculture

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders today submitted a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in support of the request by the Arkansas USDA Farm Service Agency for a Secretarial Disaster Declaration and the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP).  The letter is linked here.

“My dad was fond of saying that if a country can’t feed itself, fuel itself, or fight for itself, then it cannot survive. Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, contributing more than $20 billion to our economy each year and employing one in seven Arkansans. It is also an integral part of our way of life,” said Governor Sanders. “I am in full support of the recent request by the Arkansas USDA Farm Service Agency for a Secretarial Disaster Declaration and approval of the Emergency Forest Restoration Program.”

The letter is in response to several strong storms that passed through Arkansas in April and May of this year that negatively impacted Arkansas agricultural producers and forest landowners.  Multiple tornadoes from severe storms on May 25-26 caused significant forest damage in northern Arkansas.  The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division estimates that the storms impacted over 24,000 acres of forestland with an estimated loss of $18.4 million.  

Recent storms also caused negative impacts to the livestock and poultry industry through damage to pastureland, fences, and damaged or destroyed poultry houses.  Row crop and specialty crop producers in multiple counties have also experienced significant damage and loss to various crops including apples, grapes, berries, corn, soybeans, cotton, rice, and some grasses.  

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has worked in coordination with the Governor’s office to help the agriculture industry following the damaging storms, including providing more than 40 forestry personnel in cleanup efforts and storm evaluations in affected areas. This assistance has included debris removal and access to roadways and utilities, community assistance with planning for debris removal and tree replanting, and clearing trails and other damage at Hobbs State Park. 

Forest landowners seeking assistance with forest management decisions, individual damage assessments, and value of downed timber should contact a consulting forester.  The Arkansas Department of Agriculture may also be able to provide general education and direction to those impacted by the storms.  Additional information about the Arkansas Department of Agriculture can be found at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture website

A compilation of available assistance can be found at  

Additional information about USDA Disaster Assistance Programs can be found at the  USDA website.  Further, under A.C.A. 26-51-314, payments from an agricultural disaster program to a cattle farmer or rancher are exempt from state income tax.