INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that Indiana farmers in all 92 counties are eligible for assistance through a secretarial natural disaster designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, said this help was in response to a letter that Holcomb sent U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in July, requesting assistance for 88 counties due to the excessive rain and flooding farmers experienced during planting season, which led to significant delays in planting.

Kettler said 74 counties received the designation of primary natural disaster areas, and even though the USDA deferred a decision on the remaining 18 counties, since they border one or more of the primary disaster area, they are considered contiguous disaster counties.

“The other counties still have the opportunity to get the designation of a primary natural disaster area,” he said, adding that the designation is given depending on the effect of production and loss of production.

Kettler said the primary designation was deferred until more production history is available.

He said under the secretarial natural disaster designation, farmers and farm operators that are in primary and contiguous counties are eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency.

This designation includes access to low-interest FSA emergency loans, which can be used to restore or replace essential property, pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year, pay essentials for family living expenses, reorganize the farming operation and refinance certain debts.

“There is help available for those who might need it,” Kettler said.

For more information or to apply for a loan, visit www.fsa.usda.gov.

Ashley Langreck can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 192, or alangreck@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Langreck.

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