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Disaster Designation for Hancock, Hawkins Cos. Requested

Press release from the Office of Gov. Bill Haslam; May 31, 2012:

Warm winter and spring with an April freeze has impacted farmers

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced he has requested a secretarial designation of natural disaster for Hancock and Hawkins counties due to April’s freeze.

Haslam made the request in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. A secretarial designation would make farmers eligible to apply for lost income recovery, low-interest loans and other disaster assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency.

“I understand that weather is always an unpredictable factor in farming, and the unusually warm winter and spring coupled with an April freeze has no doubt impacted some farmers,” Haslam said.

Farmers in Hancock and Hawkins counties reported significant yield and quality losses for mixed forages and heavy damage to fruit crops as a result of the freeze. The area experienced a dramatic drop in temperatures and heavy frost April 7 – 24.

“I want to thank Gov. Haslam for recognizing that farming is a tough business. It’s important that we help farmers recover when they have unexpected losses because they are important to local economies,” state Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said.

For the latest information on crop conditions and progress statewide, visit the USDA National Agricultural Statistics, Tennessee Field Office at www.nass.usda.gov/tn. The Tennessee Crop Weather report is made available each Monday at 3 p.m. Central Daylight Time April through October.