Local Farmers Need Federal Assistance

August 10, 2005-- Posted at 7:40 PM CDT

NEWPORT--Arkansas farmers facing a serious drought are looking to the federal government for help.  Other than a brief rain in July, crops haven’t received a good amount of rain since April. 


Rice crops are doing fairly well this season, but cotton isn’t looking good and either are many beans.  Also, corn crops are a total loss.

“All of our corn crop, the dry land corn this year, is a disaster,” said Newport Farmer Michael Lewellyn. 


Corn stalks are usually 7-10 feet high this time of year, but, most crops are just 3-4 feet tall.

According to Lewellyn, the first step in getting federal assistance is for Governor Huckabee to declare a disaster emergency, but, doing that will only offer farmers lower interest rates on their loans. 


 Lewellyn says that’s not enough.  “We don’t need loans,” he said.  “We need help.” 

The Bush Administration has declared a disaster emergency for Missouri and Illinois. 


On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Jim Talent announced Missouri will receive over a million dollars in emergency conservation funds. A s for Arkansas farmers, there’s no telling when or if they will receive the money they say they need.