SmallTownNews
USDA designates eight counties in Idaho as Natural Disaster areas

By The Aberdeen Times staff

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

Aaron Johnson, Acting State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Idaho, announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated eight counties in Idaho as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by excessive rain, flash flooding and hail that occurred from July 25, 2014, through Sept. 1, 2014. Those counties are: Bingham, Bonneville, Clark, Minidoka, Blaine, Cassia, Jefferson and Power.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation's economy by sustaining the successes of America's farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We're also telling Idaho producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood."

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Idaho also qualify for natural disaster assistance because then-counties are contiguous. Those counties are: Bannock, Camas, Custer, Fremont, Lemhi, Madison, Teton, Butte, Caribou, Elmore, Jerome, Lincoln, Oneida and Twin Falls.

In order to receive an agricultural disaster designation FSA County Executive Directors meet with local leaders to access damages to crops and submit a report to the FSA State

Executive Director (SED). After meeting with the state emergency board the SED sends a recommendation of approval to Secretary Vilsack.

In September, Mr. Johnson submitted requests for three other counties with the following results: On September 3, 2014, Jerome and Twin Falls counties received designations due to excessive rain that occurred Aug. 3-7, 2014 and Clearwater County was designated due to high winds and hail that occurred Aug. 14, 2014. This qualified Idaho counties contiguous to these three primary counties as well as those counties in neighboring states that border a county with a primary designation. You can view a map that shows all counties in Idaho that have current disaster designations at www.fsa.usda.gov/id.

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.

"During 2014 Idaho has had disaster declarations for everything from drought to hail and too much moisture," said Johnson. "We want producers to know that FSA is doing all they can to help Idaho's farmers and ranchers when these natural disasters impact their operations."

Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, The Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program. Contact local USDA Service Centers.



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