In a phone conversation today with Representative Â James Ratliff of District 60 we were informed of his latest efforts concerning damaged received in August flooding in and around the district.
Ratliff informed us that the local farmers were in a unique situation after the recent flooding that could be a financial disaster for local farmers.
Mr. Ratliff met with an estimated 100 local farmers in meetings held at Randolph County and in Lynn. According to the State Representative one major hurdle for the farmers in our area is there are no measures included in the current Farm Bill that would assist them. Ratliff attended meetings with Secretary Of Agriculture Wes Ward and representatives from both Sen. Boozeman, Sen. Cotton and Congressman Rick Crawford.
Some 30 to 35 row crop farms in Randolph County and an estimated 60 row crop farms in Lawrence County could be forced out of business unless they receive some type of assistance. According to Ratliff the problem is the farmers were effected in May and again in August with flooding, most received low interest loans to replant after the May flooding but with the August flooding it puts those same farmers in financial stress. Ratliff said more than just low interest loans are needed and suggested some type of direct payment to those who qualify.
Rep. Ratliff said this is a long process but a critical process to ensure that we are buying food grown from our local farmers, not from foreign countries.
Rep. Ratliff stated first the Governor needs to declare the disaster which Ratliff expects soon then the process needs to move through the USDA, Secretary Of Agriculture then on to Congress for funding.