All of Indiana’s 92 counties are now in some stage of drought. Rainfall expected over the weekend of July 13-15 may not be as widespread as once expected. That’s why it was welcome news when Julia Wickard, state director of the Indiana Farm Service Agency, announced last Friday that USDA had already declared 36 counties as disaster areas for agriculture. USDA announced changes to disaster declaration rules and enhancements to programs on Wednesday.
As the rules work, farmers and landowners in contiguous counties also qualify, so there are a total of 55 counties where farmers can now seek relief.
The biggest thing the declaration does is make farms eligible for low-interest loans, and gives them up to with months to apply for loans from FSA to cover part of their actual losses. The loan rate was reduced as part of the announcement from 3.75 to 2.25%. Loans will be considered on a case-by-case basis by FSA.
Farmers and landowners in the following counties qualify since these counties are , as of July 12, considered natural disaster areas, no matter what the rest of the season brings. They include Allen, Carroll, Cass, Crawford, Daviess, DeKalb, Dubois, Elkhart, Fulton, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Howard, Huntington, Knox, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lawrence, Marshall, Martin, Miami, Noble, Orange, Perry, Pike, Posey, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Spencer, Sullivan, Steuben, Vanderburgh, Wabash, Warrick, Wells and Whitley.
Counties where landowners and farmers qualify since their county lies adjacent o one or more of these counties include the following: Adams, Blackford, Clay, Clinton, Delaware, Harrison, Jackson, Jasper, Jay,. LaPorte, Madison, Monroe, Owen, Starke, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vigo, Washington and White.
FSA is reminding everyone, especially livestock farmers, to document and keep records of losses during this disaster period. If your county is not on the list and you believe it should be, begin your inquire as to why it is not included at your local county FSA office, or the office where you conduct your business.