LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders sent a letter today to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, backing the Arkansas USDA Farm Service Agency for assistance in forestry and disaster relief.

“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 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.”

As multiple severe storms on May 25-26 ravaged communities across the Natural State, livestock and forests were severely impacted.

You can view the full letter here:

Additionally, pastureland, fences, and poultry houses were damaged which resulted in an estimated loss of 24,000 acres of forestland altogether.

Estimated losses amounted to $18.4 million, according to the governor’s office.

Crop production has experienced extensive damage to a host of crops including apples, grapes, berries, corn, soybeans, cotton, rice, and some grasses.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has worked along with the governor’s office to assist the agriculture industry by adding more than 40 forestry personnel in cleanup actions and storm evaluations in areas that were affected.

Efforts to remove debris, clear up roadways, and fix utilities, additional community input in planning for debris removal, tree replanting, and clearing walkways at Hobbs State Park.

Forest landowners seeking counsel with forest management decisions, individual damage evaluations, and the value of downed timber are advised to contact a consulting forester.

General education and guidance for those affected by the severe storm event can be provided by The Arkansas Department of Agriculture.



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