Julia A. Wickard, State Executive Director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Indiana announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated an additional 14 counties to the original 50 counties in Indiana as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by extreme drought. The 14 new counties are indicated with an asterisk:
“The U.S. Drought Monitor is the indicator and trigger to designate additional primary and contiguous natural disaster areas through the fast track Secretarial designation process,” said Wickard. “We know some areas of Indiana received rainfall in the last week, but not enough to reverse the impact of the drought for our Indiana crop and livestock producers. FSA continues to monitor the situation,” she said.
Six additional counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous to the designated counties. The 6 new counties are indicated with an asterisk.
All counties listed above indicated with an asterisk were designated natural disaster areas on July 25, 2012, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.
Recent changes in the disaster program will provide faster and more flexible assistance to farmers devastated by natural disasters. There are three significant improvements related to Secretarial disaster designations: a final rule that simplifies the process for Secretarial disaster designations and will result in a 40 percent reduction in processing time for most counties affected by disasters; a reduced interest rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent; and a payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10 percent.
USDA encourages all farmers to contact their crop insurance companies and local FSA offices, as applicable, to report damages to crops or livestock loss. In addition, USDA reminds livestock producers to keep thorough records of losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed purchased due to lost supplies. Additional resources to help farmers deal with drought may be found at https://www.usda.gov/disaster.
Source: Indiana FSA