U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representatives David Davis (R-Tenn. 1), John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn. 2), Zach Wamp (R-Tenn. 3), Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4), and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6) today announced that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward T. Schafer has declared seven counties in Tennessee as disaster areas due to losses caused by drought. According to Secretary Schafer’s declaration, “This designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.”
The following seven counties were declared as primary natural disaster areas: Carter, Cumberland, De Kalb, Loudon, Roane, Sullivan, and Trousdale.
In addition, 23 contiguous counties may also be eligible for disaster assistance. Those counties are: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Cannon, Fentress, Hawkins, Johnson, Knox, Macon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Putnam, Rhea, Smith, Sumner, Unicoi, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, White, and Wilson.
“I’m glad that Secretary Schafer has announced this declaration for seven counties in our state that have experienced some of the driest seasons in our state’s history,” Alexander said. “With this declaration from the Secretary of Agriculture, Tennessee farmers should be able to get the help they need.”
“I was proud to support Governor Bredesen’s request for a drought declaration and I am pleased that Secretary Schafer has made assistance available for eligible producers in these counties who have been affected by the persistent drought,” Corker said. “I hope the designation and subsequent assistance will provide some help to these farmers as they work to recover from the severe weather conditions that have plagued our region for the last two years.”
"I am glad that the USDA has declared these hard hit counties eligible for drought assistance,” said Congressman David Davis.
“I am pleased that the federal government will be offering support to Tennessee farmers as they deal with the effects of this year’s drought,” said Congressman Duncan. “These farmers work very hard every day to put food on our table and contribute to our Nation’s economy. By receiving this declaration, they will be able to apply for assistance to help get them through this tough time.”
“This USDA declaration provides some relief to the farmers in Tennessee who were hit with tough conditions this year, and whose families are having a hard enough time weathering today’s economic conditions,” said Congressman Wamp.
“We have seen in past years the effect a drought can have on Tennessee’s farmers and economy, and I will be working closely with my colleagues to help out wherever we can in these difficult times,” said Congressman Lincoln Davis.
“This drought has destroyed crop yields and hurt county economies across Middle Tennessee and throughout the rest of the state,” Congressman Gordon said. “With this declaration, the many affected farmers and their families in counties like De Kalb and Trousdale can begin to rebuild and prepare for the start of the next farming season.”