LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson sent a letter Friday to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue asking him to loosen insurance rules for Arkansas farmers dealing with devastating floods.

The rules require farmers to replant by June 9 to be eligible for insurance. Hutchinson said in the letter that according to scientists and consultants, planting in June would reduce yields by 30 percent or more.

“The problem is compounded by the lack of desirable rice varieties available by the time replanting could start,” he wrote.

Hutchinson told Perdue that rice farmers need to be free to schedule their replanting based on advice from experts that is specific to local conditions, not an arbitrary date set by a crop insurance program.

“Excessive, additional financial hardship will be placed upon producers already facing significant challenges if this needed flexibility is not provided,” he said in the letter.

Hutchinson also thanked Perdue for making a recent visit to Arkansas to view the flood damage.