COLLEGE STATION - USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director James B. Douglass announced that eight counties in Texas were declared a disaster on March 27, 2013, due to drought using the new, streamlined Secretarial Disaster Designation process. Under this designation, producers in any of the primary or contiguous disaster counties are eligible to apply for low interest emergency loans.
The streamlined disaster designation process issues a drought disaster declaration when a county has experienced a drought intensity value of at least a D2 (severe drought) level for eight consecutive weeks based on the U.S. Drought Monitor during the crop year. Under this declaration eight counties in Texas have reached that threshold since January 29, 2013.
The following eight counties were designated as primary disaster counties:
The following 26 counties were designated as contiguous disaster counties:
"The disaster designation is welcome relief to producers because it allows all qualified operators in primary and contiguous counties to apply for a low interest emergency (EM) loan," said Douglass.
Emergency loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding and other natural disasters or quarantine.
Producers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000.
Producers with operations in counties that did not receive a disaster designation could be eligible for emergency loan assistance if they suffered at least a 30 percent loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate or chattel property.