In a flurry of designations from USDA based on natural disasters this year, the latest from the Montana Farm Service Agency singles out six of the state's counties for eligibility.
Bruce Nelson, Montana FSA state director, says Sec. Tom Vilsack declared the counties of Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Gallatin, and Powder Ricer as contiguous disaster areas because of drought.
All of the counties received official disaster designations last month, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest federal loans from the FSA, says Nelson.
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration, April 10, to apply for funding to help recover part of the actual losses they sustained due to drought.
FSA reviews the applications on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
The emergency loan rate is set at 2.375%, with a maximum for individual loans at $500,000.
Emergency loans of this type can be used for several purposes, including:
•Restoration or replacement of essential property.
•Payment of all or part of the production costs associated with the disaster y year.
•Payment of essential family living costs
•Refinancing of some debts, but not real estate loans.
Producers seeking to apply for an emergency loan are advised to contact their local FSA office for an appointment with the farm loan program staff.
For more information on the loans, visit the Montana FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/mt . To sign up for Montana FSA news through GovDelivery electronic news services, go online, or contact your local FSA office for subscription assistance.
Loan requirements are different from those of other lenders. Some of the more significant differences include:
•Borrowers must keep accurate farm records.
•Borrowers must operate in accordance with a farm plan.
•Borrowers may be required to participate in a financial management training program and obtain crop insurance.