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Obama names Vernon, La Crosse counties contiguous disaster areas
Designation is due to severe storms, high winds and flooding in 18 Minnesota counties
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President Obama July 25 designated La Crosse and Vernon counties as contiguous natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by severe storms, straight line winds, and flooding that occurred in eighteen Minnesota counties beginning June 20, 2013 through June 26, 2013.

All qualified farm operators in the eighteen Minnesota counties and the two Wisconsin counties are 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.

Actual loss loans for producers losses will be based on the disaster year production compared to the previous three (3) year production history. The actual loss loans for physical damages to property destroyed or damaged will be based upon the allowable cost associated with repairing or replacing the property destroyed or damaged. In addition, the damaged or destroyed property must be essential to the continuation of the operation.  Interest rates for actual loss loans that do not exceed $500,000 will be 2.5 percent.

FSA is prohibited from making loans to applicants who can get credit elsewhere.  Producers who feel they have sustained a qualifying loss and are interested in more information may contact their local county FSA office located in USDA Service Centers throughout Wisconsin.  The deadline for filing applications is March 25, 2014.