More Counties Declared Natural Disaster Areas 1-22-2010 - WSMV News 4

More Counties Declared Natural Disaster Areas 1-22-2010

Excessive rainfall in some Tennessee counties has caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deem more counties as primary natural disaster areas.
The five counties that now qualify for disaster relief are Claiborne, Cock, Rutherford, Sevier and Union counties.
The AG Department says crops in these areas are so badly damaged by water that the department wants to help hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses since the rain began Sept. 1.
"President Obama and I understand these conditions caused severe damage to the area and serious harm to farms in Tennessee and we want to help," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a USDA press release. "This action will provide help to hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses to a wide variety of crops, including corn, cotton, forage, soybeans, tobacco, as well as specialty crops such as pumpkins."
The effected counties all qualify for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.
"The 2009 growing season was certainly unpredictable and challenging for many of our state's farmers. This disaster designation will be important for helping those who experienced significant crop losses during last year's unusually wet harvest," said Gov. Phil Bredesen in a press release. "I'm pleased that USDA has responded so promptly to my request."
Also qualifying as secondary, adjoining disaster counties are: Anderson, Bedford, Blount, Campbell, Cannon, Coffee, Davidson, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Jefferson, Knox, Marshall and Williamson.
With Friday's announcement, a total of 21 Tennessee counties have qualified for a primary natural disaster designation due to excessive rain during the 2009 harvest. Last month, USDA named 16 other counties as primary natural disasters including: Bradley, Chester, Cumberland, Hamilton, Hardeman, Lauderdale, Macon, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, Shelby, Smith, Trousdale and Wilson.
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months 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.
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