USDA’s Farm Service Agency provides emergency loans through the Emergency Loan Program to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to natural disasters. Producers will be eligible for these loans as soon as their county is declared a Presidential or Secretarial disaster county.
Last week, Vilsack announced three significant improvements to USDA programs and processes related to Secretarial disaster designations: a final rule that simplifies the process for Secretarial disaster designations and will result in a 40 percent reduction in processing time for most counties affected by disasters; a reduced interest rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent; and a payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10 percent.
Hot, dry and drought conditions across states from California to Delaware have damaged some crops and slowed development of others. USDA’s Risk Management Agency reminds producers faced with questions on crop losses to contact their crop insurance companies and local USDA Farm Service Agency Service Centers, as applicable, to report damages to crops or livestock loss, and not to destroy or discontinue care for your crops. Farmers and ranchers who participate in the federal crop insurance program are reminded to please contact your agent or company as soon as you experience any failing crops. USDA assures producers that indemnity payments will be made to producers who submit claims for crops and livestock. In addition, USDA reminds livestock producers to keep thorough records of losses, including additional expenses for such things as food purchased due to lost supplies.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Emergency Watershed Protection program, which provides assistance to areas that have been damaged by natural disasters, such as floods, windstorms, drought, and wildfires. In partnership and through local government sponsors, NRCS helps local communities recover from natural disasters.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service provides food assistance to those in need in areas affected by a disaster. This Federal assistance is in addition to that provided by State and local governments. USDA provides disaster food assistance in three ways: provides foods to State agencies for distribution to shelters and other mass feeding sites; provides food to State agencies for distribution directly to households in need in certain limited situations; and authorizes State agencies to issue Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits.