USDA announced on December 3 it has designated three counties in Iowa as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by excessive rainfall that occurred from April 1 to August 5, 2013. The counties are: Allamakee, Cerro Gordo and Floyd.
"Our hearts go out to those farmers affected by recent natural disasters," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation's economy by sustaining the successes of America's farmers, ranchers and rural communities through difficult times. We're also telling Iowa producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood."
Counties that are contiguous to these three counties are also eligible for USDA low interest rate loans
Counties that adjoin these three disaster-designated counties are also eligible for natural disaster assistance in the form of low interest rate loans from USDA. "Farmers in the 13 contiguous counties in Iowa may qualify, depending on their individual situations," says John Whitaker, state executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa. The 13 contiguous counties located in Iowa are: Bremer, Butler, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Franklin, Hancock, Howard, Mitchell, Winnebago, Worth, Winneshiek and Wright.
Also, one county in Minnesota and two counties in Wisconsin are eligible for USDA natural disaster assistance—because these three counties are contiguous to the Iowa-designated counties. These are: Minnesota (Houston County) and Wisconsin (Crawford and Vernon Counties).~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
All counties listed above were designated as natural disaster areas by USDA on Nov. 27, 2013, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans (EM Loans) from USDA's Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met by the farmers.
Farmers in these designated counties have eight months to apply for loans to help cover part of their losses
Farmers in the 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 the farmer's repayment ability, says Whitaker. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.
Additional USDA programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers should 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.
In his December 3 announcement, Secretary Vilsack also reminded producers that Congress has not funded the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill. These are SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.