The U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has designated 72 counties in Michigan as primary natural disaster areas and 10 contiguous disaster areas for conditions that occurred in January and May 11, 2012. The only county not covered in the declaration is Keweenaw.
"This federal designation, along with my signing of Public Act 193 of 2012 in June to create Michigan's agriculture disaster loan program, will help Michigan's farmers, handlers and processors bridge the gap until next year's growing season," says Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. "This disaster designation ensures our farmers and producers have access to additional federal resources to overcome Mother Nature's challenges and remain viable producers of food for both national and international markets."
The counties designated by USDA as natural disaster or contiguous disaster areas means that qualified farm operators are eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency, 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 Michigan to receive federal disaster status, the original crop loss estimates must be verified from harvest yield data. If losses of 30%or more are confirmed, and the disaster request is granted, eligible state producers will have access to USDA-FSA's low-interest emergency loan program for up to 100% of their weather-related agriculture production losses. USDA-FSA is the agency responsible for compiling the official crop loss statistics and administering the federal emergency farm loan programs.
For more information on the federal emergency farm loan programs, please visit the USDA-FSA Web site at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.