Emergency farm loan applications being accepted

Milam joins growing list of counties suffering from severe drought conditions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated Milam County as a natural disaster area due to losses caused by drought that began Oct. 1, 2010 and continues. Milam, Falls, Williamson and Burnet counties are four of 123 in Texas recently named by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack eligible for loans to cover part of actual production and/or physical losses resulting from the drought.

Farmers and ranchers in Bell, Burleson, Lee and Robertson also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

Applications for emergency farm loans for losses caused by drought are being accepted at the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office located in Marlin, farm loan manager Terri K. Treviño said last week.

Farmers may be eligible for loans of up to 100 percent of their actual losses or the operating loan needed to continue the agricultural business, whichever is less. For farmers unable to obtain credit from private commercial lenders, the interest rate is 3.75 percent.

“As a general rule, a farmer must have suffered at least a 30 percent loss of production to be eligible for an FSA emergency loan,” Treviño said. Farmers participating in the Federal Crop Insurance program will have to consider proceeds from those programs in determining their loss.

“Applications for loans under this emergency designation will be accepted until November 28, 2011 but farmers should apply as soon as possible. Delays in applying could create backlogs in processing, with possible delays into the new farming season,” Treviño said.

FSA is a credit agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is authorized to provide disaster emergency loans to recognized farmers who work at and rely on farming for a substantial part of their living. Eligibility is extended to individual farmers who meet U.S. citizenship requirements and to farming partnerships, corporations, or cooperatives in which U.S. citizenship requirements are met by individuals holding a majority interest.

The FSA office in Marlin, located at 503 Craik Street, is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additional Information regarding Disaster Assistance Programs may be found online at http://disaster. The Marlin office serves Bell, Burnet, Falls, Milam and Williamson counties.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (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 EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

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