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Latest 'disaster' declaration may help some farmers

October 02, 2007

ANNAPOLIS - Yet another disaster declaration has been issued involving Maryland, but this one could help area farmers whose crops didn't meet the time periods of other aid programs.

The USDA announced last week it has designated Washington, Frederick, Allegany and Carroll counties as natural disaster areas because they are contiguous to counties in Pennsylvania designated as primary natural disaster areas because of losses caused by drought that occurred from April 1, 2007, and continuing. The designation for this disaster was signed on Sept. 12.

Elizabeth Anderson, Maryland executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency, said all qualified farm operators are eligible for EM loans, provided eligibility requirements are met.

Farmers in the affected counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for the loans to help cover part of their actual losses, Anderson said.

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She said 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.

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.

Farmers can also 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 on at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov

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