Hillsborough farmers qualify for assistance after freeze loss | News
Hillsborough County, FL -- Hillsborough County is one of many counties in Florida included in the USDA’s disaster declaration as a result of the frost and freezes that occurred Nov. 5 – Dec. 17, 2010. Hillsborough County farmers have eight months from the date of this declaration on Jan. 25, 2011, to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses, according to a release from the county.
The USDA provided the following information on the disaster declaration and assistance in their release:
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 26 counties in Florida as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by frost and freezes that occurred Nov. 5 – Dec. 17, 2010.
The counties are: Alachua, De Soto, Hardee, Lee, Miami-Dade, Putnam, Bradford, Dixie, Hendry, Levy, Okeechobee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Flagler, Highlands, Manatee, Palm Beach, St. Johns, Clay, Gilchrist, Indian River, Martin, Polk, St. Lucie, Collier and Glades.
Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Florida also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous: Baker, Columbia, Lafayette, Monroe, Pasco, Taylor, Brevard, Duval, Lake, Orange, Sumter, Union, Broward, Hillsborough, Marion, Osceola, Suwannee, Volusia and Citrus.
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas Jan. 25, 2011, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), 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.
USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.”
For more information locally, impacted farmers and ranchers can also call or visit the Hillsborough County Farm Service Agency at 201 S. Collins St., Suite 201 in Plant City or at (813) 752-1474, ext. 2.