Haslam applies for aid for Hancock, Hawkins counties

(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Gov. Bill Haslam is asking the Dept. of Agriculture to give a secretarial designation of natural disaster to Hancock and Hawkins counties following April's freeze, his office announced on Thursday.

“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.

The request was made in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. It would allow farmers to apply for lost income recovery, low-interest loans, and other disaster assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency.

According to the governor's office, farmers in Hancock and Hawkins counties reported "significant yield and quality losses" for mixed forages and "heavy damages" to fruit crops after the thermometer took a nosedive for much of April.

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