Monday, August 29, 2016

Drought conditions prompt disaster declarations

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 15 counties in New York as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by a recent drought. Those counties are: Cayuga, Monroe, Steuben, Chemung, Niagara, Tioga, Erie, Ontario, Tompkins, Genesee, Schuyler, Wyoming, Livingston, Seneca and Yates.

“Our hearts go out to those New York farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said 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 these difficult times. We’re also telling New York producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in New York also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are: Allegany, Chautauqua, Orleans, Broome, Cortland, Oswego, Cattaraugus, Onondaga and Wayne. Farmers and ranchers in Bradford, Potter, Susquehanna and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Aug. 29, 2016, 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.