LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky farmers in 58 counties who sustained losses to their farm dwellings, machinery and other farm structures related to the February tornadoes, storms and flooding may, if eligible, receive financial assistance, including low-interest emergency loans, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) to help them restore agricultural operations.
People in 15 Kentucky counties became eligible to be considered for various disaster assistance programs of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and others.? The 15 counties now eligible for individual assistance through FEMA programs are Allen, Bath, Christian, Fayette, Hardin, Harrison, Hart, Hopkins, Meade, Mercer, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Nicholas, Shelby and Spencer. Farmers in these counties may also apply to the SBA for long term low interest loans for storm-related damage to their personal residence.
Disaster farm loss assistance in those counties, as well as all counties contiguous to them, is managed by FSA. Farmers residing in the following contiguous counties who sustained storm-related losses are also eligible to be considered for FSA emergency help: Anderson, Barren, Bourbon, Boyle, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Butler, Caldwell, Clark, Cumberland, Edmonson, Garrard, Grayson, Green, Jefferson, Jessamine, Larue, Logan, Madison, McLean, Metcalfe, Nelson, Ohio, Scott, Simpson, Todd, Trigg, Warren, Washington, Woodford, Bracken, Crittenden, Fleming, Franklin, Grant, Henry, Menifee, Montgomery, Oldham, Pendleton, Robertson, Rowan and Webster.
FSA may make emergency loans to farmers and ranchers (owners or tenants) who were operating and managing a farm or ranch at the time of the disaster. These loans are limited to the amount necessary to compensate for actual losses to essential property and/or production capacity. Farmers and ranchers may also apply for cost-sharing grants for emergency conservation programs such as debris removal from crop/pasture lands, repairs to land/water conservation structures, and permanent fencing. Further information is available from FSA.
"The February storms damaged farm buildings and fences and felled trees through much of Kentucky," state Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said. "This came on top of losses Kentucky farmers incurred as a result of a drought and a late freeze in 2007. We are grateful to the federal government for making emergency loans and disaster aid available to our farmers."
Farmers interested in applying for assistance should contact their local FSA county office.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.