WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 68 Ohio counties as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by the combined effects of excessive rain, flash flooding, flooding, excessive heat, landslides, mudslides, high winds, hail and lightning that occurred during the period of March 1, 2015, through Aug. 25, 2015.
Those counties include Logan, Shelby, Hardin and Union counties.
“Our hearts go out to those Ohio 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. We’re also telling Ohio producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”
Farmers and ranchers in additional counties in Ohio also qualify for disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties include Darke, Madison, Champaign and Clark counties.
All counties listed were designated natural disaster areas on Nov. 19, 2015, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency 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 emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.
Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program, The Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree 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 is also available online at disaster.fsa.usda.gov.