Is Your County Part of USDA Natural Disaster Designation?

Is Your County Part of USDA Natural Disaster Designation?

Farmers who suffer weather-related disasters may be eligible to receive low-interest loans through USDA.

John Whitaker, state executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Iowa, recently announced that USDA has designated 15 more counties in Iowa as part of a Presidential Major Disaster Designation due to weather related disasters. Eligible family farmers with qualifying production and physical losses caused by natural disasters may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans from FSA. 

An official "Disaster Designation" has been issued for the following counties and conditions: 

EMERGENCY LOANS: USDA has announced a number of Iowa counties as part of Natural Disaster Designation this year. Eligible family farmers with qualifying production and physical losses caused by weather-related disasters may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans from FSA.

* Twenty Minnesota counties have a Secretarial Disaster Designation as the primary disaster area due to heavy rainfall, freezing temperatures, thawing and refreezing resulting in winterkill January 1, 2013 through May 15, 2013. Eleven Iowa counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making these producers also potentially eligible for programs based on this designation. The contiguous counties are: Allamakee, Dickinson, Emmet, Howard, Kossuth, Lyon, Mitchell, Osceola, Winnebago, Winneshiek and Worth. The final date for making application under this designation is January 8, 2014.

* Twenty-eight Missouri counties have a Presidential Disaster Designation and have been designated as the primary disaster area due to severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding from May 29, 2013 through June 10, 2013. Four Iowa counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making these producers also potentially eligible for programs based on this designation. The contiguous counties are: Appanoose, Lee, Van Buren and Wayne. The final date for making application under this designation is March 18, 2014.

FSA makes emergency loans to eligible family farmers who've had qualifying losses due to natural disasters    

The Farm Service Agency may make emergency loans to eligible family farmers which will enable them to return to their normal operations if they sustained qualifying losses resulting from natural disaster, says Whitaker. Physical loss loans may be made to eligible farmers to enable them to repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property, including livestock losses, essential to the success of the farming operation.

Examples of property commonly affected include; essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees, and harvested or stored crops. For production loss loans, the disaster yield must be at least 30% below the normal production yield of the crop, on a crop or crops that make up a basic part of the total farming operation.

Applicants for FSA emergency loans must be unable to get credit from usual commercial sources such as banks

Applicants must be unable to obtain credit from other usual sources to qualify for the FSA Farm Loan Program assistance, he notes. The interest rate for emergency loans is 2.375%. Each applicant applying for credit will be given equal consideration without regard to race, creed, color, marital status or national origin. 

The repayment for most disaster loans are based on the useful life of the security, the applicant's repayment ability, and the type of loss. If the loan is secured only on crops, it must be repaid when the next crop year's income is received. Loans to replace fixtures to real estate may be scheduled for repayment for up to 40 years. 

Interested farmers may contact their local County FSA office for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Information can also be found online at www.fsa.usda.gov.

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