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Drought aid is finalized for 24 Indiana counties
By MEGAN KUHN
Assistant Editor

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Farmers in almost 50 Indiana counties affected by last summer’s cool, wet weather followed by drought conditions are now eligible for federal loans, state officials announced Feb. 24.

USDA Secretary Mike Johanns recently approved Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ request for disaster designation for farmers in 24 counties that suffered poor crop yields caused by poor weather occurring from May 1, 2005 through Aug. 31, 2005. In addition to the 24 counties authorized as disaster areas, 25 contiguous counties are also eligible for federal emergency loan assistance.

Johanns said in a letter to Daniels that based on a review of the information from the state, along with additional information from the state Farm Service Agency, “it has been determined that all counties sustained sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial disaster designation.”

This designation allows farmers in those counties to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). Johanns added that, “FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.”

The following Indiana counties have been designated primary natural disaster areas due to drought and high temperatures that occurred beginning May 1, 2005: Bartholomew, Clark, Crawford, Dearborn, Elkhart, Floyd, Harrison, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Koscuisko, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Ohio, Orange, Porter, Posey, Scott, St. Joseph, Starke, Switzerland, Warrick and Washington.

The 25 contiguous counties that are also eligible for federal emergency loan assistance include: Benton, Brown, Decatur, Dubois, Franklin, Fulton, Gibson, Jennings, Johnson, LaGrange, Lawrence, Marshall, Martin, Monroe, Noble, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Ripley, Shelby, Spencer, Vanderburgh, Wabash, White and Whitley.

“Most of Indiana fared well in terms of weather and crop yields, but we knew that the lack of rain last summer was going to create problems in pockets of our state,” said Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman. “These disaster designations will allow assistance for Hoosier farmers who need it.”

Farmers in the primary and contiguous disaster areas wanting more information on the emergency loan programs should contact their local FSA office. To find a local FSA office, visit the FSA website.

This farm news was published in the March 1, 2006 issue of Farm World.

3/1/2006