The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) July 10 designated Vernon and seven other Wisconsin counties as contiguous natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the combined effects of heavy rainfall followed by freezing temperatures and multiple periods of thawing and refreezing, resulting in winterkill that occurred Jan. 1 – May 15, 2013 in 15 Minnesota counties.
The other affected counties are Buffalo, La Crosse, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, St. Croix, and Trempealeau.
Producers in the Wisconsin counties, along with producers in 11 Iowa counties and one South Dakota county, also qualify for emergency loans because their counties share common borders with the primary disaster counties in Minnesota.
All qualified farm operators in the designated areas 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 2.25 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.