All 92 counties designated primary disaster areas

Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and Indiana State Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency Julia Wickard announced today that all 92 Indiana counties have been designated primary natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
 
The word comes after Lt. Governor Skillman and Wickard sent a letter on July 25 to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, requesting a Secretarial disaster designation for Indiana, due to the impact of excessive heat, frost, freeze and drought. The USDA reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports and determined sufficient production losses to warrant such a declaration.
 
“It’s been one challenge after another this year for our farmers, who provide so much for all of our families,” said Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. “This is another great step in the recovery process, and we remain committed to helping members of our agricultural community get through these difficult times and move forward with renewed optimism.”
 
A Secretarial disaster designation makes qualified farmers in both primary and contiguous counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans through USDA’s Farm Service Agency.  Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for low interest loans. FSA will consider each loan application on individual merits.
 
“This designation is important because it provides relief to all producers across Indiana who have suffered a qualifying loss of 30 percent or greater of at least one crop, “ said Julia Wickard, State Executive Director, Indiana Farm Service Agency. “It extends the scope beyond drought, which is what the new USDA Fast Track process, using the U.S. Drought Monitor, provided Hoosier farmers this summer.”
 
The following counties in adjacent states are now named as contiguous disaster areas:

Illinois (12):
 
Clark                  Edgar                Kankakee         Wabash
Cook                  Gallatin            Lawrence          White
Crawford           Iroquois           Vermillion         Will
 
Kentucky (13):
 
Boone                 Daviess         Hardin             Meade      Trimble
Breckinridge      Gallatin         Henderson     Oldham     Union
Carroll                 Hancock       Jefferson      
 
Michigan (5):
 
Berrien          Branch        Cass        Hillsdale       St. Joseph          
 
Ohio (9):
 
Butler              Hamilton          Preble 
Darke              Mercer              Van Wert
Defiance         Paulding            Williams
 
In addition to loan assistance, the USDA has also improved flexibility in the Conservation Reserve Program, making more livestock producers and landowners eligible for emergency haying and grazing. Indiana has a comprehensive website dedicated to the latest developments on the 2012 drought. Visit www.in.gov/drought for more information on disaster declarations, assistance programs and additional resources for producers.
 
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Lt. Governor Becky Skillman oversees the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, the Office of Energy Development, the Office of Tourism Development, and the State Department of Agriculture.
 
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