Posted September 17,  2013
 
The USDA has designated four counties in Texas as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought, according to USDA press release available here.  The Texas counties include: Panola, Polk, Trinity, and Walker.
 
Farmers and ranchers in contiguous counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance.  These Texas counties include: Angelina, Grimes, Hardin, Harrison, Houston, Liberty, Madison, Montgomery, Rusk, San Jacinto, Shelby, and Tyler.  Caddo De Soto, a contiguous parish in Louisiana, also qualifies for disaster assistance.
 
Farm operators in the designated counties may apply for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).  Farmers have eight months from the date of declaration, September 11, 2013, to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. 

 

Several additional programs are available to assist farmers including the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.  Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, also stated that Congress has not funded the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill: SURE, the Livestock Indemnity Program; the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish; the Livestock Forage Disaster Program; and the Tree Assistance Program.  Production losses from disasters occurring after September 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster assistance program coverage.