The USDA has designated 56 counties in Ohio as primary agricultural natural disaster areas, making certain farmers and other agricultural producers in the counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Some counties were designated as primary natural disaster areas, due to damages and losses caused by frost and freeze conditions that occurred from April 1 through 20. Those counties are: Adams, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Brown, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Coshocton, Darke, Fairfield, Franklin, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Medina, Meigs, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Portage, Preble, Ross, Sandusky, Scioto, Union, Vinton, Warren, Washington and Wyandot.
Counties eligible because they are contiguous to those listed above are: Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Huron, Lake, Mahoning, Mercer, Miami, Putnam, Richland, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Van Wert, Wayne, Williams and Wood.
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on July 20 making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans from USDA's FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met. To qualify, farmers must be unable to obtain credit from commercial sources. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part or all 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. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity. USDA has also made other programs available to assist farmers, including the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers should contact their local FSA county office for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.
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Emergency haying or grazing: USDA has approved the Farm Service Agency (FSA) CRP participants and eligible livestock producers in Adams, Brown, Highland, Muskingum, Morgan, Pickaway and Ross counties, Ohio, for emergency haying and grazing of approved CRP acres as a result of this year's drought conditions.
Huron and Erie County have NOT been approved for Emergency Haying and Grazing, but are in the expanded area to provide haying and grazing to producers who are in approved counties. All counties in Ohio are in the area of eligibility for emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres by eligible livestock producers. Eligible livestock producers only within the approved counties may purchase hay or conduct emergency haying and grazing of eligible CRP acreage from an eligible CRP participant located in the expanded area. The participant must be willing to provide hay or haying and grazing under Emergency Haying and Grazing provisions and will be assessed a 10 percent reduction in their annual rental payment. CRP participants cannot rent or lease the haying and grazing privilege for an amount greater than the applicable payment reduction. This allows any CRP participant who has CRP acreage in that expanded area to permit producers from the seven approved counties to come in and hay or graze their acreage. Livestock producers or landowners interested in opening up their CRP acres for Emergency Haying and Grazing should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.
Diana Strouse is the county executive director for the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency. For more information, call the agency at (419) 668-4113.