Governor requests federal assistance for farmers

From Staff Reports

   Gov. Phil Bredesen on Monday called for federal assistance to farmers in 29 drought stricken counties across the state that did not receive assistance last year through the Federal Livestock Compensation Program.
   Carter County was included in the federal assistance list of recipients. However, Washington, Unicoi, Blount, Cocke, Hawkins, and Sullivan counties were not.
   Bredesen joined state Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens in calling for the federal aid.
   "Tennessee farmers play a vital role in growing the state's economy. Making sure they have the assistance they need is a top priority for this administration," said Bredesen. "The extreme weather conditions experienced over the past couple of years has created difficult economic hardships for many of our farming families, particularly livestock producers. I want to make certain that all livestock producers who suffered production losses have access to much needed federal assistance."
   Bredesen asked members of the state's congressional delegation to support efforts to extend the Livestock Compensation Program through the federal appropriations bill now under consideration by Congress.
   The federal Livestock Compensation Program provided direct payment to livestock farmers based on a county's drought disaster status in 2001 or 2002 and based on the number of animals certified on farms June 1, 2002.
   To be eligible for the program, a county must have been designated a drought disaster county in 2001 or must have received or requested disaster designation for drought before the program was announced on Sept. 19 last year.