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Local farms eligible for disaster loans

March 21, 2006

Farmers in Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties are eligible for disaster aid now that the USDA has named areas of Pennsylvania as disaster areas, an official said.

Elizabeth Anderson, executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency in Maryland, said the aid is available due to production losses caused by drought that began May 1, 2005, and continues.

Farmers in those areas can apply for an emergency loan through FSA's Farm Loan Program.

Producers who think they had weather-related crop losses should call their local FSA for more information.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from Feb. 21, when the disaster was declared, to apply for the 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 available, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity, Anderson said.

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In Washington County, the FSA office is in Suite 107 at 1260 Maryland Ave., Hagerstown. The telephone number is 301-797-0500.

Information is also available online at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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