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Local farms eligible for FSA loans

April 18, 2006

COLUMBIA, Md. - The executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Maryland said Washington County and two others in the state are eligible for emergency loans because of drought-related problems nearby last year.

State Director Elizabeth Anderson said that counties in West Virginia were designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by drought that began occurring a year ago.

As a result, Anderson said, farms in the adjacent counties of Washington, Allegany and Garrett also sustained crop production losses.

All of those counties have been designated natural disaster areas, making qualified farm operators eligible for emergency loans, if eligibility requirements are met, Anderson said.

Farmers in those areas have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for the loans to help cover part of their actual losses, she said.

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FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability, Anderson said.

"FSA has a variety of programs available, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity," the agency said in a news release.

USDA has also made other programs available to assist farmers, including Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

Farmers can contact their local USDA Service Centers for more information on requirements and application procedures. Additional information is also available online at: disaster.fsa.usda.gov

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