Another county in North Dakota has been designated as a natural disaster area.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has designated Stark County, N.D., as a primary natural disaster area due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.
The complete list of primary natural disaster areas includes Barnes, Benson, Billings, Bowman, Cass, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Golden Valley, Grand Forks, Griggs, Logan, Lamoure, McIntosh, Nelson, Ramsey, Ransom, Slope, Stark, Steele, Stutsman, and Traill.
In addition, farmers and ranchers in Grant, Mercer, and Morton counties now qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous to the primary natural disaster area.
Additional contiguous counties from previous disaster designations include Adams, Cavalier, Dunn, Emmons, Hettinger, Kidder, McKenzie, Pembina, Pierce, Richland, Sargent, Sioux, Towner, Walsh and Wells Counties.
Secretary Vilsack's announcement comes as a result of a new streamlined disaster designation process unveiled this year. "These automatic designations based on drought put us several months ahead of where we would normally be in the disaster assistance process," says Aaron Krauter, state executive director of Farm Service Agency in North Dakota. "For counties that haven't received an automatic designation, our County Emergency Boards are looking very closely at losses to see if they meet the criteria for secretarial disaster designation outside of the fast track process."
FSA's emergency loans are specifically targeted towards established farm operators who have suffered significant losses due to a disaster and are unable to receive credit from commercial lenders. In addition to providing low interest loans, FSA works with producers to develop a farm plan and get connected to a financial management training program. Farmers or ranchers who suffer at least a 30% loss to production or had a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, or other farm property may be eligible for emergency loans. Loan funds through FSA may be used to restore or replace essential property, pay production costs for the disaster year, reorganize the farming operation or refinance certain debts.
Source: ND Farm Service Agency