Easley Seeks Federal Aid For Farmers

North Carolina's governor is seeking federal disaster assistance for farmers hit hard by this summer's drought.

Gov. Mike Easley will ask the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for a federal disaster declaration for farmers whose crops and livestock are suffering from the ongoing drought.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Farm Service Agency have nearly completed a statewide survey of crop loss data from farmers to determine which counties to include in a federal disaster request.

“Early indications are that more than 90 counties may meet the criteria for federal disaster assistance,” Easley said.

The state says many farmers have reported significant losses in corn and soybean crops and a lack of hay to feed cattle.

August is on track to be the hottest month ever recorded in North Carolina. Rainfall in some communities is 50-to-75 percent less than normal for this time of year.

It's estimated the state would need more than 15 inches of rainfall during the next six months to get free of the drought. Forecasters say there is no significant rainfall expected in the near future.