Arkansas governor asks for federal disaster declaration due to heat, drought
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK/KAIT) – With the current heat wave not going away anytime soon in Arkansas, the governor is looking to act.
On Friday, July 15, Gov. Asa Hutchinson sent a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture, asking to declare the Natural State a disaster area.
According to content partner KARK, Hutchinson cited agriculture’s $19.4 billion annual impact on the state’s economy. He noted one-in-six jobs in Arkansas are tied to agriculture.
Hutchinson also explained the U.S. Drought Monitor showed the entire state was in some level of distress, ranging from moderately to abnormally dry. Some of the areas in the state have seen triple-digit temperatures and little to no rain.
“These conditions are weighing heavily on Arkansas’s agricultural producers and rural communities,” the governor states. “Hay production has stalled, with many producers not getting a second cutting, forcing them to seek alternative sources or reduce their herd. Sales at Arkansas livestock markets are up significantly over the past month. Row crops are requiring significantly higher levels of irrigation which increases production costs and stresses irrigation equipment and water supplies. Wildfire danger is at a 10-year high in Arkansas, with 53 of the state’s 75 counties under burn bans.”
As of Tuesday, July 19, at least 16 counties in Northeast Arkansas are under a burn ban.
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