Minnesota agricultural producers who lost property due to recent natural disasters may be eligible for USDA physical loss loans.
The Farm Service Agency is offering low-interest loans to farmers in Douglas, Goodhue, Grant, Norman and Stevens counties who incurred losses due to blizzards, excessive snow and high winds that occurred between Jan. 1 and March 14, 2019.
Approval is limited to applicants who suffered severe physical losses only, including the loss of buildings and livestock.
Applications are due Jan. 6, 2020.
Producers in the contiguous Minnesota counties of Becker, Big Stone, Clay, Dakota, Dodge, Mahnomen, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Polk, Pope, Rice, Stearns, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha and Wilkin, along with Cass and Traill counties in North Dakota, and Pepin and Pierce counties in Wisconsin, are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.
Physical loss loans can help producers repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property essential to the success of the agricultural operation, including livestock losses. Examples of property commonly affected include essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees, and harvested or stored crops and hay.
For more information on FSA disaster assistance programs or to find your local USDA Service Center visit farmers.gov/recover.
Walz seeks presidential disaster declaration
To help the state recover from other weather-related damages, Gov. Tim Walz sent a letter May 28 to the Trump administration requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 51 counties and four tribal governments in Minnesota.
From March 12 to April 28, major flooding, blizzard conditions and gale force winds combined to cause nearly $40 million dollars in infrastructure damage across the state.
If granted by the president, the federal disaster declaration would provide needed public assistance to reimburse communities for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repair and replacement of damaged infrastructure.
The damages, as assessed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, in partnership with tribal and county emergency managers, totaled $39,257,773 — well above the $8 million threshold required for a federal declaration.
Walz highlighted several examples of damages, including that roads and bridges account for 39% of the state's verified damages, totaling more than $15,000,000.
“Most of that damage is to township gravel roads,” he wrote. “These local roadways are critical to the vitality of the agricultural, forestry and tourism industries in those areas. More than 250 miles of local roads were damaged by flooding in Lac qui Parle County. Street damage in the city of Boyd is $1,944 per capita.”
If President Donald Trump declares a major disaster, FEMA would fund 75% of approved costs and the state of Minnesota would pay the remaining 25%.