LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated counties in Arkansas and Oklahoma as primary natural disaster areas because of a wide-reaching drought.
Two western Arkansas counties and eight counties in eastern Oklahoma were included in the declaration announced Wednesday by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Vilsack opened up 3.8 million acres of conservation land for ranchers to use for haying and grazing. Under that conservation program, farmers have been paid to take land out of production to ward against erosion and create wildlife habitat.
Vilsack said crop insurers will provide farmers facing cash-flow issues a 30-day grace period on premiums in 2012.
Benton and Washington counties are under the declaration in Arkansas.
In Oklahoma, the counties included are: Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, Haskell, Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa and Wagoner.
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