After a damaging season of rain, Union County farmers may see help from the federal government.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday that Union County has been added to a list of Ohio counties covered by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretarial disaster designations. Union County was recently included along with Williams County, Fulton County and Morrow County as counties contiguous to hard hit areas. In the case of Union County, Marion County was the primary designated spot.
Union County Commissioner Charles Hall said he anticipates a large number of farmers around the county will take advantage of the assistance opportunity.
“The county has had a quite a bit of water problems this spring, especially in the northern part of the county. There has been a tremendous number of acreage that just hasn’t been planted,” Hall said. “With the way this season has gone, with all the rain and water issues, farmers really do need some assistance.”
He said it’s possible some of the local farmers could get through this year without issue but next year would prove difficult.
“The weather is something that ultimately affects the entire county, not just farmers,” Hall added. “I think this assistance is really going to help them.”
Earlier in the week, DeWine encouraged farmers in 40 other Ohio counties to seek potential relief from the USDA following secretarial disaster designations in their counties or contiguous counties due to rain, flooding, or other weather conditions.
In a letter sent out at the end of July, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said there were sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation that added several counties throughout Ohio.
According to the USDA, a Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary and contiguous counties eligible for consideration for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency, which may include FSA emergency loans.
“Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans,” Perdue’s letter said. “FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator.”
In June, DeWine requested a USDA Secretarial disaster designation for Ohio and met with farmers about the effects of heavy rainfall this year.
Farmers should contact their local FSA offices for additional information. More information on USDA’s disaster assistance program can be found at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
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