Governor Rick Snyder has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated all 83 counties in Michigan as primary natural disaster areas for drought and excessive heat conditions that began in March and is ongoing.
“The federal designation will aid Michigan’s farmers for crop losses due to the ongoing heat and drought conditions,” said Snyder. “This disaster designation ensures our farmers and producers have access to additional federal resources to overcome Mother Nature’s challenges.”
The counties designated by USDA as natural disaster or contiguous disaster areas means that qualified farm operators are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.
“Although we are still determining the full extent of the damage, this year’s extreme weather conditions have caused significant crop losses for Michigan’s farmers,” said Jamie Clover Adams, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director. “Additionally, hay production has been impacted across the state which may greatly affect our livestock industry. This federal designation provides much needed aid to Michigan’s farmers and producers to overcome the weather related challenges.”
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.
In order for Michigan to receive federal disaster status, the original crop loss estimates must be verified from harvest yield data. If losses of 30 percent or more are confirmed, and the disaster request is granted, eligible state producers will have access to USDA-FSA’s low-interest emergency loan program for up to 100 percent of their weather-related agriculture production losses. USDA-FSA is the agency responsible for compiling the official crop loss statistics and administering the federal emergency farm loan programs.
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