Hoosier farmers in all 92 counties who sustained weather-related damage this year due to excessive rain and flooding are eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance, according to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 74 counties as primary natural disaster areas. The other 18 Indiana counties are considered contiguous disaster counties, which allows farmers in those areas to be eligible for the same government assistance.
“I am grateful that Secretary Perdue and his team recognized the hardships Hoosier farmers experienced this planting season,” Gov. Holcomb said.
This disaster declaration was in response to a letter the governor sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in July requesting assistance.
Under a secretarial natural disaster designation, farmers in those counties can get assistance, like low interest loans, from the Farm Service Agency provided they meet certain requirements.
The money can be used to replace essential property, pay for production costs associated with the disaster and refinance certain debt.
“Farmers, who have been doing this their entire lives, acknowledge this has been one of the toughest seasons on record, and we’re not in the clear yet,” said Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “While we know this isn’t a cure-all solution, this assistance is welcome news and will help those severely impacted.”
Two weeks ago, a team of 60 field scouts crisscrossed the state to gauge the yield potential for Indiana corn and soybean crops, and their outlook showed little promise. One scout called Indiana crops the "bottom of the worst yet." Click here to read that coverage.