WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2015 — On. Dec. 17, 2015, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Hill and Lake counties in Montana in two separate disaster designations as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by multiple disasters that occurred during the 2015 crop year.

Montana FSA: USDA Designates Two Counties in Montana as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

Media Contact: Jennifer Cole, 406.587.6786

For Immediate Release: Dec. 22, 2015

Earlier this month, six Montana counties were approved for Physical Loss Loans due to the Hail & Wind Disaster

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2015 — On. Dec. 17, 2015, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Hill and Lake counties in Montana in two separate disaster designations as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by multiple disasters that occurred during the 2015 crop year.

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

Designation 1: USDA has designated Hill County in Montana as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought that occurred from April 1, 2015, and continues.

Farmers and ranchers in Blaine, Chouteau and Liberty counties in Montana also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

Designation 2: USDA has designated Lake County in Montana as a primary natural disaster area due to damages and losses caused by frost, hail and wind that occurred from May 10, 2015, through July 5, 2015.

Farmers and ranchers in Flathead, Missoula and Sanders counties in Montana also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Dec. 17, 2015, 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.

DEC. 9, 2015 ADMINISTRATOR’S PHYSICAL LOSS DESIGNATION IN SIX MONTANA COUNTIES

Earlier this month, on Dec. 9, 2015, FSA Administrator Val Dolcini notified FSA in Montana that six Montana counties were approved by the Administrator for FSA’s Physical Loss loans due to physical damage and losses caused by hail and high winds that occurred July 4 and July 5, 2015. Blaine and Hill counties were designated as primary emergency physical loss counties and Chouteau, Fergus, Liberty and Phillips counties were contiguous physical loss disaster counties.

The physical loss designation makes qualifying farm operators who suffered severe physical losses in these six counties eligible for FSA emergency loans covering qualifying physical losses only. Producers have eight months from Dec. 9th to apply for the emergency loans under this designation.

For a list of all disaster counties in Montana visit www.fsa.usda.gov/mt or http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/2015-mt-fsa-disaster-areas.pdf. Contact your local FSA office for more information about eligibility and timeframes to apply for the emergency loan program in your county.

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.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. 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).