August 19, 2013

Calif. Counties Declared Drought Disasters

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated the following six counties in California as primary natural disaster areas on Aug. 14, 2013, due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought: Del Norte, Mendocino, Siskiyou, Humboldt, Shasta and Trinity. 

Farmers and ranchers in the following contiguous counties in California also qualify for natural disaster relief:  Glenn, Lassen, ​Plumas, Tehama, Lake, Modoc, and Sonoma.

“Our hearts go out to those California 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 California producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

​​With natural disaster designation, a county's qualified farm operators are 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.

Secretary Vilsack also reminds producers that Congress has not funded the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill. These are SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.