ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Farmers in much of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding areas may be eligible for assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to recover from flooding over the past year and a half.
Photo of flooding submitted to WHSV by Rochelle in Raphine on April 15, 2019
According to a press release issued on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has designated four Virginia counties as primary natural disaster areas. They are Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren.
That means any farmer or producer in those areas who suffered losses from the effects of heavy rain, flash flooding, flooding, or hail that's occurred since April 15, 2018 can apply to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for emergency loans.
Anyone recovering from damage by severe weather can use emergency loans from the FSA to replace essential items like equipment or livestock, reorganize a farming operation, or refinance certain debts.
But the loans aren't just for the four designated counties.
The declaration extends to all contiguous counties as well, including the Virginia counties of Albemarle, Augusta, Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Greene, Madison, and Rappahannock, along with the city of Harrisonburg, and Hardy and Pendleton counties in West Virginia.
Farmers in all of those places can apply for emergency loans from the FSA.
The deadline to do so is March 9, 2020.
The agency will review all loan applications based on the extent of losses, what security is already available, and repayment ability.
They also have a number of other programs that can help farmers after severe weather without needing a natural disaster declaration, including:
• Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program
• Emergency Conservation Program
• Livestock Forage Disaster Program
• Livestock Indemnity Program
• Operating and Farm Ownership Loans
• Tree Assistance Program
If you're interested in applying for the emergency loans, you can contact your local USDA service center for more info on eligibility requirements and application procedures or go to farmers.gov/recover.
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