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Newsroom

Emergency Designation News Releases

Printable Version

 
Tanya Brown
202-690-4585
Tanya.brown@wdc.usda.gov
Release 00018.14

 

 
USDA Designates 38 Counties in Michigan as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

 

 
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 38 counties in Michigan as primary natural disaster areas in three different designations due to multiple disasters.

 
Our hearts go out to those Michigan 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 Michigan producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

 
Designation #1

 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 27 counties in Michigan as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain with cooler than normal temperatures that began April 1, 2013, and continues.

 
Those counties are:

 
Alcona
Chippewa
Gratiot
Mackinac
Arenac
Clare
Houghton
Midland
Baraga
Crawford
Huron
Monroe
Bay
Emmet
Iosco
Muskegon
Charlevoix
Gladwin
Luce
Newaygo
Cheboygan
Gogebic
Ogemaw
Ontonagon
Oscoda
Presque Isle
Roscommon

 
Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Michigan also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

 
Alger
Isabella
Marquette
Oceana
Alpena
Kalkaska
Mason
Osceola
Antrim
Kent
Mecosta
Otsego
Clinton
Keweenaw
Missaukee
Ottawa
Ionia
Lake
Montcalm
Saginaw
Iron
Lenawee
Montmorency
Sanilac
Schoolcraft
Shiawassee
Tuscola
Washtenaw
Wayne

 
Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Ohio and Wisconsin also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

 
Ohio

 
Lucas

 
Wisconsin

 
Iron
Vilas

 
Designation #2

 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Benzi County in Michigan as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought with cooler than normal temperatures that occurred Aug. 1 – Sept. 28, 2013.

 
Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Michigan also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

 
Grand Traverse
Leelanau
Manistee
Wexford

 
Designation #3

 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 10 counties in Michigan as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the combined effects of excessive rain that occurred April 1 – July 29, 2013, and returning Oct. 15, 2013, and continuing. The designation also includes drought that occurred July 30 – Oct. 15, 2013, and cooler than normal temperatures which spanned the entire disaster period. The counties are:

 
Alpena
Grand Traverse
Mecosta
Montmorency
Antrim
Kalkaska
Missaukee
Osceola
Otsego
Wexford

 

 
Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Michigan also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

 
Alcona
Cheboygan
Isabella
Manistee
Benzie
Clare
Lake
Montcalm
Charlevoix
Crawford
Leelanau
Newaygo
Oscoda
Presque Isle
Roscommon

 
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Jan. 22, 2014, 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.

 
The Obama Administration remains committed to helping the thousands of farm families and businesses struggling with natural disasters. Actions taken by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in 2012 to provide assistance to producers impacted by the drought included:

 
  • Extended emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, freeing up a record 2.8 million acres and as much as $200 million in forage and feed for ranchers during a challenging time.
  • Purchased $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken, and catfish for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks, to help relieve pressure on American livestock producers and bring the nation's meat supply in line with demand.
  • Reduced the emergency loan rate, from 3.75 percent to 2.875 percent, as well as making emergency loans available earlier in the season.
  • Allowing haying or grazing of cover crops without impacting the insurability of planted 2013 spring crops.
  • USDA worked with crop insurance companies to provide flexibility to farmers, and one-third of all policyholders took advantage of the extended payment period.
  • Authorized $16 million in existing funds from the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to target states experiencing exceptional and extreme drought.
  • Transferred $14 million in unobligated program funds into the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to help farmers and ranchers rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought.
  • Authorized haying and grazing of Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) easement areas in drought-affected areas where haying and grazing is consistent with conservation of wildlife habitat and wetlands.
  • Lowered the penalty on CRP acres used for emergency haying or grazing, from 25 percent to 10 percent in 2012.
  • Simplified the Secretarial disaster designation process and reduced the time it takes to designate counties affected by disasters by 40 percent.

 
Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster 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.

 
Secretary Vilsack also reminds producers that Congress has not funded the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.These are SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.

 
FSA news releases are available on FSA’s website at www.fsa.usda.gov via the “Newsroom” link.

 
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

 

 

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