USDA on Tuesday reminded producers in 256 previously identified natural disaster areas that they may qualify for a variety of safety net programs and loans as provided by the 2014 Farm Bill.
The areas in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah were designated due to drought conditions in 2015.
Farmers and ranchers in designated areas may qualify for low interest emergency loans through USDA's Farm Service Agency. 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. Each loan application is considered on its own merits and based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
In addition to drought, USDA's Farm Service Agency also provides assistance for natural disaster loses resulting from flood, fire, freeze, tornadoes, pest infestation, and other calamities. These programs include:
• Livestock Indemnity Program, which compensates eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible livestock includes beef cattle, dairy cattle, bison, poultry, sheep, swine, horses, and other livestock as determined by the Secretary.
• Livestock Forage Disaster Program compensates eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire on publicly managed land.
• Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, & Farm-Raised Fish provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
• Tree Assistance Program provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.
• Emergency Conservation Program helps farmers and ranchers to repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and to help put in place methods for water conservation during severe drought.
• Emergency Forest Rehabilitation Program helps the owners of non-industrial private forests restore forest health damaged by natural disasters.
The 2014 Farm Bill also significantly improved the Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program by giving producers the option to select higher levels of risk protection for crops and commodities that do not have crop insurance available.
Producers can determine whether Noninsured Disaster Assistance is available by visiting their local FSA office or using a Web-based tool.