WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has previously designated natural disaster areas in 256 counties across Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah due to drought conditions in 2015. USDA wants to remind producers affected by disaster that the 2014 Farm Bill, which was signed into law one year ago by President Obama, has paved the way for qualified farmers and ranchers in affected counties to apply for a variety of safety net programs and loans.
Farmers and ranchers in designated areas may qualify for low interest emergency loans through USDA's Farm Service Agency. 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. Each loan application is considered on its own merits and based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. Visit www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans to learn more.
In addition to drought, USDA's Farm Service Agency also provides assistance for natural disaster loses resulting from flood, fire, freeze, tornadoes, pest infestation, and other calamities. These programs include:
- Livestock Indemnity Program, which compensates eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible livestock includes beef cattle, dairy cattle, bison, poultry, sheep, swine, horses, and other livestock as determined by the Secretary.
- Livestock Forage Disaster Program compensates eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire on publicly managed land.
- Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, & Farm-Raised Fish provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
- Tree Assistance Program provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.
- Emergency Conservation Program helps farmers and ranchers to repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and to help put in place methods for water conservation during severe drought.
- Emergency Forest Rehabilitation Program helps the owners of non-industrial private forests restore forest health damaged by natural disasters.
The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
To learn more about USDA Farm Service Agency disaster assistance programs, visit the Farm Service Agency factsheet page at www.fsa.usda.gov/factsheets or contact your local Farm Service Agency office at http://offices.usda.gov.