(Des Moines) -- Iowa State Executive Director for USDA Farm Service Agency, John Whitaker, announcec that the U-S Department of Agriculture has designated eleven Iowa counties as part of a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation. Farm operators who have suffered major production and/or physical losses caused by drought beginning July 31, 2012 and continuing may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans.
A Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation has been issued for four Iowa counties as the primary disaster area. These primary counties are: Lyon, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury. Seven Iowa counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making these producers also potentially eligible for program based on this designation. The contiguous counties are: Cherokee, Crawford, Ida, Monona, O'Brien, and Osceola. Harrison county is contiguous to a primary county in Nebraska.
The Farm Service Agency may make Emergency Loans to eligible family farmers which will enable them to return to their normal operations if they sustained qualifying losses resulting from natural disaster. Physical loss loans may be made to eligible farmers to enable them to repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property, including livestock losses, essential to the success of the farming operation. Examples of property commonly affected include; essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees, and harvested or stored crops. For production loss loans, the disaster yield must be at least 30 percent below the normal production yield of the crop, on a crop or a crop or crops that make up a basic part of the total farming operation.
Applicant must be unable to obtain credit from other usual sources to qualify for the Farm Service Agency Farm Loan Program assistance. The interest rate for emergency loans is 2.25%. Each applicant applying for credit will be given equal consideration without regard to race, creed, color, marital status, or national origin.
The repayment for most disaster loans are based on the useful life of the security, the applicant's repayment ability, and the type of loss. If the loan is secured only on crops, it must be repaid when the next crop year's income is received. Loans to replace fixtures to real estate may be scheduled for repayment for up to 40 years.
The final date for making application under this designation is April 8, 2013. Interested farmers may contact their local County FSA office for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Information can also be found on-line at www.fsa.usda.gov