The USDA has designated six counties in Florida as primary natural disaster areas in three separate designations due to various disasters.
“Our hearts go out to those Florida 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.”
USDA has designated Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns counties as primary natural disaster areas due to freezes and frosts that occurred Feb. 17–March 4, 2013.
Farmers and ranchers in Alachua, Clay, Duval, Marion, and Volusia counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.
USDA has designated Holmes and Washington counties as primary natural disaster areas due to frosts, excessive rain, flooding, flash flooding, and high winds that occurred Feb. 4–March 4, 2013.
Farmers and ranchers in Bay, Jackson, and Walton counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Growers in Geneva County in Alabama also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their county is contiguous.
USDA has designated Palm Beach County as a primary natural disaster area due to freezes, frosts, and high winds that occurred March 3-4, 2013.
Farmers and ranchers in Broward, Glades, Hendry, Martin, and Okeechobee counties in Florida also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.
Emergency Loans Available
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas, 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.
Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information also is available on agency’s disaster website.