Area farmers and others across the state may be eligible for low-interest federal emergency loans after the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 151 counties as primary disaster areas due to drought and excessive heat since July 1.
Gov. Sonny Perdue announced the designation Monday. He said he appreciated the USDA’s commitment to assisting farmers who have been hit hard by the extreme weather.
“Georgia’s economy relies heavily on our agriculture industry,” he said.
Based on USDA Damage Assessment Reports, farmers in the designated counties sustained a 30 percent or greater production loss to a single enterprise due to the drought conditions. The disaster designation allows farmers in the designated counties to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency.
As a result of the disaster designation, the state’s other eight counties are considered contiguous disaster areas. Farmers in those counties may also be eligible for FSA emergency loans.
Under the designation, farm operators in both primary and contiguous disaster areas are eligible to be considered for FSA emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. Farmers in qualified counties have until July 26, 2011, to apply for emergency loan assistance.
FSA will review each application on its own merits by considering the extent of production losses, security available and repayment ability. SURE Program applications for 2010 crop losses will be accepted in 2011, when the 2010 farm revenue data required by statute becomes available.
To contact the office that services your county, or for more information about USDA disaster assistance programs, visit http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator.