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Bladen among counties designated disaster area due to excessive rains

Bladen County is among 44 counties that qualify for natural disaster assistance because of crop loss and damage caused by excessive rain and flooding that occurred Sept. 22 through Oct. 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced.

“Our hearts go out to those North Carolina farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “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.”

The designation was made Oct. 21 and means all qualified farm operators in the designated areas are eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers 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.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and N.C. Farm Service Agency Executive Director Bob Etheridge visited Bladen County earlier in October to view damage and determine what could be done to help farmers.

Chris Tatum, the Bladen FSA director, said during Etheridge’s visit that as much as 70 percent of both the peanut crop and the cotton crop in Bladen County was damaged.

For information, contact the Bladen County FSA office at (910) 862-3179, extension 2.

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