Primary USDA Natural Disaster Areas in Oregon With Assistance to Producers in California

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Grant and Jackson counties in Oregon as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought. Farmers and ranchers in Siskiyou County in California also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

“Our hearts go out to those Oregon farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling Oregon producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Oregon also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are: Baker, Crook, Douglas, Harney, Josephine, Klamath, Masher, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wheeler.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on March 18, 2015, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), 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. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, The Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, HoneybeesFarm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may 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 online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

USDA Disaster Assistance to Help Thousands of Honeybee, Livestock and Farm-Raised Fish Producers

The USDA announced that nearly 2,500 applicants will receive disaster assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for losses suffered from October 1, 2011, through September  30, 2013.

The program, re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides disaster relief to livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Eligible losses may include excessive heat or winds, flooding, blizzards, hail, wildfires, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions, and diseases, or in the case of honeybees, losses due to colony collapse disorder. Beekeepers, most of whom suffered honeybee colony losses, represent more than half of ELAP recipients.

“As promised, we’re making sure that thousands of producers who suffered through two and a half difficult years without Farm Bill assistance, are getting some relief,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Once the Farm Bill was restored, not only did we implement the disaster assistance programs in record time, we’re issuing payments less than three months after the enrollment deadline. The funds will hopefully help producers with some of the financial losses they sustained during that time.”

The Farm Bill caps ELAP disaster funding at $20 million per federal fiscal year. To accommodate the number of requests, which exceeded funds available for each of the affected years, payments will be reduced to ensure that all eligible applicants receive a prorated share of assistance.

ELAP was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit  www.usda.gov/farmbill.

To learn more about USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster assistance programs, visit the FSA factsheet page at  www.fsa.usda.gov/factsheets or contact your local FSA office at http://go.usa.gov/pYV3.

USDA Farm Service Agency Offers Several Disaster Assistance Programs

Farm Service Agency (FSA) has a variety of programs available to help farmers and ranchers impacted by disasters, including the state’s drought. Complete details are on the FSA Disaster Assistance website.

Click on the programs below for additional details, or visit the FSA Disaster Assistance Program Please note signups for livestock programs begin in April.

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• Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire with retroactive authority to cover eligible losses back to Oct. 1, 2011. Sign-up will begin on or before April 15, 2014.

“These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I prioritized the implementation of these disaster assistance programs now that the Farm Bill has restored and strengthened them.”

• Livestock Indemnity Payments (LIP) provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law, including wolves and avian predators with retroactive authority to cover eligible livestock losses back to Oct. 1, 2011. Sign-up will begin on or before April 15, 2014.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm- raised fish for losses not covered by LFP and LIP. Signups will be announced in near future.

Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters with retroactive authority to cover eligible losses back to Oct. 1, 2011. Signups will be announced in near future.

Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. The program was enhanced to include 23 new categories of eligible equipment for fruit and vegetable producers, and makes it easier for farmers and ranchers around the country to finance the equipment they need to grow and expand. The maximum loan amount is $500,000.

NRCS Conservation Drought Assistance to California Farmers & Ranchers

California has seen many droughts come and go, but 2014 is creating especially dire conditions for the State’s farmers and ranchers. You’ll find more information on the NRCS Drought Assistance website .

Drought Assistance from Rural Development

Rural Development has several programs that may help rural communities, businesses, ag producers, farm workers and others impacted by California’s ongoing drought. Opportunities include $3 million in Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants (ECWAG) to help rural communities whose water supply is at risk. Additional help is available for homeowners that need help drilling a well or connecting to a community water system, food banks that anticipate increased demand, ag producers wanting to offset ag irrigation costs, and others. For a list of available programs, and local contacts, visit Rural Development’s website.