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Five Counties get disaster recognition


Effective Aug. 29, 2012 Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack declared 83 counties in the State of Michigan as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by extreme drought for eight or more consecutive weeks. This disaster designation number is S3370. As a result of this disaster determination, four Indiana counties were declared eligible for assistance including Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency (EM) loans. The contiguous counties are Elkhart, LaGrange, St. Joseph, and Steuben.

Those affected in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties may contact the Kosciusko Regional Office in Warsaw, Ind. LaGrange and Steuben counties are currently being serviced through the Whitley Regional Office in Columbia City, Ind.

Emergency loans may be made to farmers who are established family farm operators, are citizens or permanent residents of the United States, have the ability, training or experience necessary to repay the loan, have suffered a qualifying physical loss or a production loss of at least 30 percent in any essential farm or ranch enterprise, cannot obtain commercial credit (must have formal written denial), can provide collateral to secure an EM loan, and have repayment ability.

Emergency loans can be used for refinancing or annual operating expenses. The interest rate is currently 2.125 percent (October).

“Emergency loan applications will be received through April 29, 2013, for physical and production losses, and applications pending on that date may be processed and completed,” said Thomas Cleveland, farm loan manager for the Indiana counties. “For the purpose of determining loan security values for these loan applications, the beginning date of the incidence period is March 1. 2012. Loan approvals will be contingent upon the availability of funds.”

If you have any questions or for more information, contact USDA Farm Loan Programs at (574) 267-7445 ext. 114 or (260) 244-6266 ext. 105. Additional information is available at www.fsa, or visit the Indiana FSA page at