State approves 2014 drought disaster declarations

virginia-newThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced this week that Highland County received U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designation as a primary disaster area due to drought that occurred from June 1 through October 31, 2014.

Bath County received a similar designation due to drought that occurred from August 22 through October 15, 2014. Alleghany, Augusta and Rockbridge Counties were named contiguous disaster counties, meaning they border a county named as a primary disaster area.

A federal Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the federal Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available and repayment ability. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with more information.

Sandra J. Adams, VDACS Commissioner, said, “I am grateful that the USDA has declared these two counties as disaster areas eligible for federal assistance, and that other localities have been designated as contiguous disaster areas. Any assistance farmers can get will be appreciated.”

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