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Farms hurt by recent flooding may apply for USDA aid

July 25, 2006

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated Washington and Frederick counties as contiguous counties to primary disaster areas in Pennsylvania, a local official said.

As a result, farmers in Washington and Frederick counties are now eligible to apply for USDA assistance if their operations were hurt by the severe storms, mudslides and flooding that struck some areas on June 23, said Colleen Cashell, executive director of the Washington County office of the Farm Service Agency.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months to apply for the loans to help cover part of their actual losses, Cashell said. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability, she said.

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

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For more information, contact Cashell at 301-797-0500, ext. 2.

Or, you may look online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov

Farmers in Franklin County, Pa., were cleared earlier this month to apply for federal aid.

Gov. Edward G. Rendell said farmers who suffered losses from flooding or excessive rain should call their local farm service agency office.

"Extreme weather impacts food production, and getting farmers back on their feet is a concern for us all," Rendell said.

"I urge any agricultural producer affected by the flood, regardless of whether they have crop insurance or not, to contact their farm service agency office and report damages."

He said farmers should also contact their crop insurance agents and report any crop or infrastructure loss as a result of flooding or excess rain.

For more information, go to www.paflooding.state.pa.us

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