All 92 Indiana counties designated primary disaster areas
Lieutenant Gov. Becky Skillman and Julia Wickard, Indiana state executive director of the Farm Service Agency, announced Aug. 5 that all 92 Indiana counties have been designated primary natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The word comes after Skillman and Wickard sent a letter on July 25 to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, requesting a secretarial disaster designation for Indiana due to the impact of excessive heat, frost, freeze and drought. The USDA reviewed the state's loss assessment reports and determined sufficient production losses to warrant such a declaration.
A secretarial disaster designation makes qualified farmers in both primary and contiguous counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans through USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for low interest loans. FSA will consider each loan application on individual merits.
“This designation is important because it provides relief to all producers across Indiana who have suffered a qualifying loss of 30 percent or greater of at least one crop, “ said Wickard. “It extends the scope beyond drought, which is what the new USDA fast track process, using the U.S. Drought Monitor, provided Hoosier farmers this summer.”
Contiguous counties in adjacent states have also now been named contiguous disaster areas.
In addition to loan assistance, the USDA has also improved flexibility in the Conservation Reserve Program, making more livestock producers and landowners eligible for emergency haying and grazing. Indiana has a comprehensive website dedicated to the latest developments on the 2012 drought. Visit www.in.gov/drought or www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/in_fsa_drought_factsheet_rev_3.pdf for more information on disaster declarations, assistance programs and additional resources for producers.