Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a secretarial disaster declaration for 53 of Indiana’s 92 counties as requested by Governor Mike Pence, Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, and Indiana Farm Service Agency Executive Director Julia A. Wickard in a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in late July. The request came after Indiana farmers suffered significant crop damage and losses caused by flooding and excessive rain since May 1 of this year.
“Farms in counties all across the state have suffered because of the excessive rainfall we’ve experienced during our spring and summer months this year,” said Governor Pence. “I’m thankful to the Indiana Farm Service Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture for recognizing the need for assistance for our Hoosier farmers, and I hope that those affected will apply for the loans they need.”
Lt. Governor and Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Sue Ellspermann added, “I am grateful that the USDA has approved our request for a disaster declaration for the 53 Indiana counties most severely impacted by heavy rains this summer. The loans now available to Hoosier farmers will help lessen the financial impact of reduced production from flooded and rain drenched fields. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture will continue to support farmers in the impacted areas. As we join the State Fair in observing the ‘year of the farmer,” we especially note how resilient they are in the face of many challenges. They will recover from this difficult year ready to plant and harvest again in 2016.”
Wickard explained exactly what the declaration means for Indiana Farmers.Wickard on Indiana assistance
“If a producer is in a position where they cannot obtain traditional credit from a farm lender they can come into our office and our current interest rate for August is 3.625% which is lower than traditional lenders,” she told HAT. “They can make application with our offices and we can work very expeditiously to try to get them the loans they need to offset those costs that they would have locally, input costs that they’ve experienced this past year, repair of any damage that they might have. So it’s assistance available from the federal government as part of the 2014 farm bill.”
USDA also designated 87 counties in Illinois as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain and flooding.
Under the secretarial disaster declaration, low-interest emergency loans are available to all producers suffering losses in the 53 counties for which the secretarial disaster declaration has been approved, as well as in affected contiguous counties. A full list of counties where producers can request aid can be found attached.
Farmers interested in applying for loans can visit https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=in&agency=fsa and contact their local FSA offices for application details. Information regarding loan uses, eligibility, and loan requirements can be found on the attached document as provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.