Special to the Register
Cooke County —
USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director James B. Douglass announced that 207 Texas counties including Cooke County were declared a disaster on Jan. 9, 2013, due to drought and heat.
Under this designation, producers with operations in any of the 157 primary disaster counties or 50 contiguous disaster counties are eligible to apply for low interest emergency loans.
The streamlined disaster designation process issues a drought disaster declaration when a county has experienced a drought intensity value of at least a D2 (severe drought) level for eight consecutive weeks based on the U.S. Drought Monitor during the crop year.
Under this declaration 157 counties in Texas have reached that threshold since Nov. 1, 2012, according to a Farm Service Agency news release.
A total of 157 counties were declared primary disaster counties. Included in the list are Cooke, Denton, Grayson, Fannin, Montague and Wise counties.
"The disaster designation is welcome relief to producers because it allows all qualified operators in primary and contiguous counties to apply for a low interest emergency (EM) loan," Douglass said in the release.
Emergency loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding and other natural disasters or quarantine.
Producers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000. The current emergency loan interest rate is 2.15 percent.
Producers with operations in counties that did not receive a disaster designation could be eligible for emergency loan assistance if they suffered at least a 30 percent loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate or chattel property.
For more information about emergency loans, contact your local FSA office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.