Farmers in all 92 counties eligible to receive assistance
Governor Eric J. Holcomb recently announced that Indiana farmers are eligible for assistance under a secretarial natural disaster designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This was in response to a letter Gov. Holcomb sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in July, requesting assistance due to the excessive rain and flooding farmers experienced during planting season.
Seventy-four counties including Pulaski County were designated as primary natural disaster areas. USDA deferred its decision on the remaining 18 counties. However, since they border one or more of the primary disaster areas, they are considered contiguous disaster counties — allowing farm operators in those areas to be eligible for the same assistance.
Under a secretarial natural disaster designation, farm operators in primary and contiguous counties are eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency, provided certain requirements are met. This includes access to low-interest FSA emergency loans, which may be used to: restore or replace essential property, pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the farming operation, and refinance certain debts.
In order to qualify, farm operators must show at least a 30% loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate or chattel property. Farmers can borrow up to 100% of actual production or physical losses to a maximum amount of $500,000, according to USDA.