April 25, 2012

USDA Designates 3 Counties in Florida as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2012 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Hendry, Nassau and Palm Beach counties in Florida as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by frost and freezing temperatures that occurred Jan 3-16, 2012.

“Assistance at this point and time is critically important for producers in Florida to help keep their farmland healthy for the remainder of the year,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I realize that during this time of disaster, federal assistance will be needed until conditions improve and farmers strive to recover from their losses.”

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Florida also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:Baker, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Duval, Glades, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee .

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas April 20, 2012, 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.

For more information on disaster assistance programs please go to: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/

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