WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Mercer and Washington counties in Ohio’s primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by drought that occurred from May 24, 2016, through Oct. 21, 2016.
Farmers and ranchers in Athens, Auglaize, Darke, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Shelby and Van Wert counties in Ohio also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.
Farmers and ranchers in Adams and Jay counties in Indiana, and in Pleasants, Tyler and Wood counties in West Virginia also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Jan. 5, 2017, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (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.
Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program;Livestock Indemnity Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program; and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.