2:59 PM EDT, July 18, 2012
The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared 14 additional Indiana counties as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by the extreme drought, announced Lt. Governor Becky Skillman Wednesday.
Additionally, 11 new contiguous counties have been declared natural disaster areas.
Skillman stated farm operations in 80 counties now qualify for low interest emergency loads through USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
“As drought spreads havoc, particularly for those in our agriculture sector who provide the basics, we continue to work with our partners and others to minimize the impact,” Skillman said.
Counties that have been at a certain level of drought for eight consecutive weeks automatically qualify for disaster designation. Officials said counties that border primary natural disaster counties also qualify for assistance.
Officials from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture continue to monitor counties that have not yet received disaster designation. Requests can be made to USDA for any counties that should receive natural disaster status.
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. Additional resources to help farmers deal with drought may be found at a state website.