Much of Central Valley an ag disaster area
March 1, 2013
• USDA issues declaration because of drought
• “Our hearts go out to those California farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated three Central Valley counties plus seven others in California as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.
The counties are Fresno; Kern; and Tulare in the Valley plus Los Angeles, Mono, Inyo, Lassen, Modoc, Riverside and San Bernardino.
“Our hearts go out to those California farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Farmers and ranchers in Merced, Kings, and Madera counties, plus 14 others, also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. The 14 other counties are Alpine; San Benito; Santa Barbara; Imperial; Monterey; San Diego; Shasta; Orange; San Luis Obispo; Sierra; Plumas; Siskiyou; Tuolumne and Ventura.
Being designated as in a natural disaster area makes qualified farm operators eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency, 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, the USDA says.
FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.