LITTLE ROCK – Gov. Mike Beebe declared a state of emergency Thursday to assist farmers with transporting harvested crops during the state’s severe drought.

The governor’s office said the declaration is intended to help Arkansas farmers who are experiencing navigation and transportation difficulties due to the low flow on the Mississippi River.

The declaration temporarily authorizes issuance of special permits from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department for the transport of corn, rice, soybeans and grain sorghum to their destinations on controlled access highways, provided that the load does not exceed 85,000 pounds.

This declaration will be in effect for 30 days and may be extended depending on future conditions, Beebe’s office said.