Farmers in Tallapoosa, Coosa eligible for emergency loansPublished 2:20pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack has declared 33 counties as primary natural disaster areas due to the prolonged drought conditions.mystery
Coosa and Tallapoosa counties were among the counties named as primary natural disaster areas.
Phil Savage, farm loan specialist with the Farm Service Agency, said that this means local farmers that have lost money due to drought conditions may be eligible for federal assistance.
“(The declaration) means we can issue emergency loans, loans that carry an interest rate of 2.25 percent,” Savage said. “A producer has eight months from the date of this disaster determination to submit an application.”
To be declared as a primary disaster area, a county has to be under severe drought conditions for at least eight consecutive weeks at any time during the growing season. As of July 10, all of Tallapoosa County was listed as being in a D-3 or extreme drought.
Savage said that farmers have to wait until all their losses are calculated before they can apply for the aid.
“If you have crops in your field now, you will have to complete your harvest in order to know what your production loss is,” Savage said. “You have to have a 30 percent production loss.”
The low-interest loans are designed as a last resort line of credit for farmers that have incurred losses, Savage said.
“An individual must be unable to get credit elsewhere at reasonable terms,” Savage said. “(In order to qualify) they must demonstrate that other credit is not available.”
Farmers can apply for a maximum loan of $500,000. There are a few limitations, but Savage said farmers can use the money in a variety of ways.
“There is a wide range of items that the loan can be used for,” Savage said. “They can use it to replace working capital, as part of their operating expenses in the coming year or to pay living expenses.”
Savage said that farmers who are interested in low-interest loans can contact their local FSA farm loan officer.
“The farm loan officer that covers Tallapoosa and Coosa County works out of Elmore County office,” Savage said. “(Farm loan employees) can answer question, work with (farmers) and assist them in the application process.”
The number for the Elmore County office is 334-567-2264. For more information, you can also visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov.