WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated five counties in Michigan as primary natural disaster areas — Antrim, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, and Otsego.
Producers in these counties who suffered crop or monetary losses due to excessive rain and high winds since Aug. 28, 2018, may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.
According to a statement from the USDA, the natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.
“On Aug. 28 of last year, there were terrible storms that passed through the northern counties of the Lower Pensiula,” said Audrey Sebolt, horticulture specialist for the Michigan Farm Bureau. “We are thankful to Secretary Perdue for this designation and the USDA for providing this emergerncy loan opportunity, which will help eligible growers on their road to recovery.”
Producers in the contiguous Michigan counties of Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Oscoda, Roscommon, and Wexford are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.
The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is Feb. 25, 2020.
FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Operating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program.
Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at farmers.gov/recover.