Beshear Asks For Federal Drought Relief

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide federal aid to drought-stricken farmers in Kentucky.

Beshear sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, citing crop losses and said farmers have been dealt "a severe setback" with back-to-back years of drought.

"The financial burden of two consecutive years of weather-related disasters could be overwhelming for many of our state's farm families if they do not receive disaster relief," Beshear said.

Hurricane Ike brought much-needed rain to other drought-stricken southern states. Kentucky, however, received only damaging winds.

Beshear said state officials also are evaluating the level of crop damage caused by the hurricane-force winds. He said in a written statement Friday that he may also request federal assistance for those farmers.

"We've had better years," said Sam Hancock of Fulton, who grows corn, wheat and soybeans on his western Kentucky farm. "We've gone several weeks without rain."

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