[r75] Bacon's Legislative Thoughts [BLT]:USDA offering assistance for farmers (8/13/2012)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Start Date: 8/13/2012 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 8/13/2012 End Time: 11:59 PM

In the midst of one of the worst droughts in Indiana’s history, I wanted to take the time to inform our community about the aid being offered to farmers by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Currently, 66 counties are designated as primary natural disaster areas and 15 counties are designated as contiguous disaster areas.

The farmers in those designated counties may be eligible for assistance from the USDA. In July, they announced several new tools and process improvements in order to better help Hoosier farmers. They are offering a reduced rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the current loan rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent, providing that eligibility requirements are met. The USDA has also created a payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program lands that qualify for emergency haying and grazing in 2012 from 25 to 10 percent.

Through these efforts, the USDA expects to reduce the amount of time required for designating a disaster area by 40 percent, which means help can reach those affected faster.

This streamlining effort also includes removing the requirement that a request for a disaster designation be initiated by a state governor, which increases the likelihood that counties will be covered. State governors may still submit a request for a designation, but it will not be required in order to initiate a disaster declaration.

The USDA is urging all farmers to contact their crop insurance companies as well as their local FSA Service Centers to report damages to crops or livestock loss. In addition, they are reminding livestock producers to keep thorough records of losses, including additional expenses for items such as food purchased due to lost supplies.

If you’d like more information from the USDA on disaster recovery assistance you may visit their website at www.usda.gov/disaster. Additional resources on crop information and a drought monitor can be found on the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s website at www.in.gov/isda.

I have heard from many local farmers that the drought has taken a toll on their crops and livestock. I will continue to pray for rain to lessen the hardships for all Hoosier farmers. If you have any questions, please contact me by email via h75@in.gov or by phone at 317-232-9674.

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Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler)

Bacon's Legislative Thoughts, USDA offering assistance for farmers, 8-10-12.docx