The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Jackson County in North Carolina as primary natural disaster area due to losses caused by a recent drought. In addition to the designation, the Fast Track drought monitor has triggered the Livestock Forage Program and ALL livestock producers (including but not limited to swine and poultry producers) in Jackson County should contact their local FSA office at 828-488-2684 ext.2 Wednesday thru Friday or by visiting the office at 50 Main St. Federal Building, Room 220, Bryson City Wednesday thru Friday to apply for assistance on grazing losses. Due to the severity of this drought eligible livestock producers are eligible to receive payments on 90 days of grazing losses.
“Our hearts go out to those North Carolina farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling North Carolina producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”
Farmers and ranchers in Swain County North Carolina also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Oct 28, 2016, 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.
Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program; and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.