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Farmers in Bartholomew and surrounding counties are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help cover their losses from the drought.
Bartholomew and Brown counties joined 48 other Indiana counties that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency has designated as primary natural disaster areas because of this summer’s dry conditions.
Decatur, Jackson and Jennings counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance because they are contiguous to the designated counties.
Farmers in Bartholomew County already have suffered some losses because of the heat, said Troy Hill, executive director of the Bartholomew County Farm Service Agency.
He said several farmers have contacted their crop insurance representatives as the lack of rain has caused their crops, particularly corn, to wither.
The heat also has taken a toll on livestock, Hill said. Hog farmers are “suffering quite a bit” because the animals are usually kept in a confined facility.
Farm operators in the designated areas who meet eligibility requirements have eight months from July 12 to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
The Farm Service Agency will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. The agency also has other programs to help eligible farmers recover.
The USDA has encouraged all farmers to contact their crop insurance companies and local Farm Service Agency office to report damages to crops or livestock loss.
Livestock producers also should keep thorough records of losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed purchased due to lost supplies.
How to apply
What: Low-interest emergency loans for farmers from the Farm Service Agency.
Eligibility: Farmers must meet certain stipulations to be eligible for the loans and must apply within eight months.
Whom to call: To apply, contact the county’s Farm Service Agency. In Bartholomew County, the agency can be reached at 378-1280.
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