Drought assistance available
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Texas Farm Service Agency Acting Executive Director James B. Douglass announced Jan. 14 that 207 counties in Texas were declared a disaster on Jan. 9, due to drought and heat, using the new, streamlined Secretarial Disaster Designation process. Under this designation, producers with operations in any of the 157 primary disaster counties or 50 contiguous disaster counties are eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans.
Karnes County was designated as a primary disaster county, while Atascosa, Bexar, Gonzales, and Wilson counties were designated as contiguous disaster counties.
This announcement follows the Jan. 9 announcement by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, when he designated 597 counties in 14 states as primary natural disaster areas due to drought and heat, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. These are the first disaster designations made by the USDA in 2013.
In 2012, the USDA designated 2,245 counties in 39 states as disaster areas due to drought, or 71 percent of the United States.
The streamlined disaster designation process issues a drought disaster declaration when a county has experienced a drought intensity value of at least a D2 (severe drought) level for eight consecutive weeks based on the U.S. Drought Monitor during the crop year.
Emergency loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, and other natural disasters or quarantine.
Producers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance.
Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000. The current emergency loan interest rate is 2.25 percent.
Producers with operations in counties that did not receive a disaster designation could be eligible for emergency loan assistance if they suffered at least a 30 percent loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate, or chattel property.
For more information about emergency loans, contact the Wilson County Farm Service Agency located at 1106 10th St. (U.S. 181) in Floresville, call 830-393-3411, or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.
Drought disaster assistance
The USDA Farm Service Agency has declared 207 counties in Texas disaster areas due to the extreme drought. As a result of this designation, ranchers and farmers are eligible to apply with the Farm Service Agency for assistance due to losses.
As part of the assistance program, those affected can apply for crop loss, livestock loss, and damaged farm property loss.
Under crop loss, disaster programs include:
•Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) to cover production losses for crops when federal insurance is not available.
•Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program for crop losses in counties declared a disaster by the Secretary of Agriculture.
•Tree Assistance Program (TAP) for tree losses.
Four disaster programs are available under livestock loss, including:
•Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for livestock not covered by Livestock Indemnity Program, for grazing losses not covered by Livestock Forage Disaster Program, for farm-raised fish and honeybee death, and for feed losses.
•Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for grazing losses.
•Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) for livestock deaths.
•Emergency Haying and Grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage may be authorized to provide relief to livestock producers in areas affected by a severe drought or similar natural disaster.
For damaged farm property, those affected may apply for the Emergency Conservation Program, which helps rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures.
For more information on the disaster program, visit http:/disaster.fsa.usda.gov.