The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 49 Ohio counties 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.
These counties were designated as primary natural disaster areas, due to excessive rain, flooding, flash flooding, high winds, excessive heat and tornadoes that occurred from Feb. 2, 2011, through July 31, 2011.
Mahoning County is eligible because it is contiguous to Trumbull County, which was listed as a primary natural disaster area. Other primary disaster areas are the counties of Adams, Allen, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Butler, Champaign, Clinton, Coshocton, Crawford, Fairfield, Franklin, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hardin, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lake, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Medina, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Portage, Putnam, Sandusky, Stark, Summit, Seneca, Tuscarawas, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington and Wayne.
Forty-nine counties were designated natural disaster areas Sept. 7, 2011, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA‚Äôs FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part 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 also has made other programs available to assist farmers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
Interested farmers may contact the Mahoning County FSA office at 330-533-5428 for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.