Governor Phil Bredesen has requested a federal designation of natural disaster for agriculture for farm losses in five Middle Tennessee counties due to excessive rain and extensive flooding that occurred in May.

The five counties are Bedford, Hickman, Lewis, Moore and Perry.

“A disaster designation will be important for making federal assistance available to farmers who experienced significant losses last month due to heavy rains and flooding,” said Bredesen. “I’m glad to make this request and hope this will help these farmers recover from a difficult spring planting season.”

Bredesen made the request in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. A disaster designation would make farmers in these and adjoining counties eligible to apply for assistance through their local USDA Farm Service Agency. Qualifying farmers are eligible to be considered for emergency loans, livestock assistance and supplemental farm payments as provided by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.

Farmers in these areas suffered crop losses reported in excess of 30 percent, including hay and pastures. Farmers also reported significant damage to farm equipment and structures.

For a weekly report on crop conditions across the state, visit www.nass.usda.gov/tn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes this report available each Monday at 3 p.m. CDT, April through November.