2010-09-16 / Front Page

16 Counties Designated As Primary Natural Disaster Areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has desiganted 16 counties in Pennsylvania as natural disaster areas because of losses caused by drought that began May 25, 2010, and continues. The counties are Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union and York.

“President Obama and I understand these conditions caused severe damage to corn, forage crops, soybeans, oats and wheat crops, and we want to help,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This action will provide help to hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses.”

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Pennsylvania also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Delaware, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Sullivan, Wayne and Wyoming.

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous: Delaware - New Castle; Maryland - Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford and Washington; New Jersey – Burlingotn, Warren, Huntingdon, Mercer and Sussex.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas September 3, 2010, 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.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; 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 is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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