Secretary Kawamura urges producers to explore emergency loan programs
SACRAMENTO – CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura today commended the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) decision to designate 13 California counties primary natural disaster areas.
“California farmers and ranchers have faced significant weather challenges over the last three years, especially the extreme freeze earlier this year and recent drought conditions,” said Secretary Kawamura. “I urge all eligible producers to explore the USDA’s emergency programs to help with their recovery.”
The following information was announced on May 16, 2007 by the USDA Farm Service Agency:
San Benito County was designated a primary natural disaster area due to losses caused by extremely low temperature and freezing conditions that occurred from Jan. 12, 2007, through Jan. 24, 2007. Also eligible because they are contiguous are Fresno, Merced, Monterey, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.
Merced, Stanislaus and Tulare counties were designated primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by the combined effects of drought and abnormally cold temperatures that occurred during the period of Oct. 15, 2006, and continuing. Also eligible because they are contiguous are Alameda, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Tuolumne counties.
Kern, Kings, Lake, Mariposa, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties were designated primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by drought that occurred during the period of Oct. 15, 2006, and continuing.
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on May 9, 2007, 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. According to California State Executive Director John Smythe, 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 USDA's decision has made farmers from the above listed 13 counties eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency. Additionally, the USDA has also made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
Secretary Kawamura also praised Governor Schwarzenegger for his commitment to provide disaster relief for workers and small businesses impacted by the series of disasters:
* Awarded a $2.5 million grant to assist farmworkers in Tulare County
* Authorized the California Department of Housing and Community
* Provided $2 million in HOME funds for housing assistance for freeze
* Authorized $3.25 million in emergency funding to help victims make
* Provided more than $4.7 million in aid to food banks for them to
* Urged members of Congress to support the funding package for
* Authorized local jurisdictions within 18 counties impacted by the
* Opened a total of 20 one-stop centers to provide essential services
* Requested the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) make low
* Requested the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) make
* Signed an executive order waiving the one-week waiting period from
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