“Our hearts go out to those North Carolina 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 success of American’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 USDA Farm Service Agency North Carolina State Executive Director Bob R. Etheridge on October 25th, requested the Secretarial Disaster Designations for North Carolina’s most devastated counties post Hurricane Matthew.
SED Etheridge applauded the response of Secretary Vilsack by stating, “We want to thank Secretary Vilsack as well as express our sincerest appreciation for such a quick turnaround. This request was turned around in 48 hours.”
He went on to say, “In traveling the state, I have seen the homes lost, flooded fields and anguished look of farm families. Secretary Vilsack recognizes as does the Administration the challenges North Carolinians have had to face two years in a row as it pertains to natural disasters. Floods in the east and droughts in the west have seriously impacted not only the lives of farmers and producers but the cornerstone of North Carolina’s economy: Agriculture. This is the just starting point of our efforts to pool our USDA resources and help North Carolina continue to produces the world’s food, fuel and fiber.”
Farmers in eligible counties are encouraged to apply for FSA Disaster Programs. They have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
The USDA reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports and determined that there were sufficient production losses to warrant Secretarial natural disaster designations for primary disasters areas. Those reports indicate at least one crop with losses in excess of 30% in those counties.
All counties designated natural disaster after this request that are qualified farm operators in the designated areas are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. 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 counties included are as follows: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Moore, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Tyrrell, Wake Washington, Wayne and Wilson.
Additional areas of the State are named as contiguous disaster counties. Those counties include: Anson, Chatham, Dare, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Montogomery, Nash, New Hanover, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Randolph, Stanley and Warren.
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.
Secretary Vilsack notified Governor Pat McCrory of the above designations by letter