INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Farmers in all of Indiana’s 92 counties are now eligible to receive assistance to help soften the blow from the excessive rain and flooding seen during planting season.
Governor Eric J. Holcomb requested that the counties receive a secretarial natural disaster designation in a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in July.
“I am grateful that Secretary Perdue and his team recognized the hardships Hoosier farmers experienced this planting season,” Gov. Holcomb said Friday.
A total of 74 counties 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, the governor’s office says 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 percent loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate or chattel property. Farmers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses to a maximum amount of $500,000, according to USDA.
In addition to emergency loans, farmers with existing FSA loans, who are unable to make their payments, may be eligible to have certain payments deferred. Farmers are encouraged to work with their local FSA office for assistance regarding payment forbearance or emergency disaster loans.
“Farmers, who have been doing this their entire lives, acknowledge this has been one of the toughest seasons on record, and we’re not in the clear yet,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director. “While we know this isn’t a cure-all solution, this assistance is welcome news and will help those severely impacted.”
For a list of Farm Service Agency offices in Indiana, click here or visit www.fsa.usda.gov, or click here for more information about FSA’s Emergency Farm Loans. Deadline to apply for emergency loans is April 29, 2020.