HARRISBURG – Farmers in 38 Pennsylvania counties are eligible for emergency loans following a U.S. Department of Agriculture declaration designed to help producers recover from crop losses associated with dry weather conditions this summer, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack authorized the low-interest emergency loans for farmers in Pennsylvania counties after receiving a Aug. 16 letter from Gov. Edward G. Rendell seeking an emergency disaster declaration due to lack of rainfall.
“Dry conditions experienced throughout much of the state this summer have resulted in considerable crop loss for Pennsylvania farmers, affecting their ability to maintain profitable businesses,” said Redding. “I thank Secretary Vilsack for acting swiftly to help our farmers recover from these losses and safeguard the state’s agriculture industry.”
Sixteen counties were declared primary disaster areas, including Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union and York.
Twenty-two additional counties that border the primary disaster area were named contiguous disaster areas. Contiguous counties include Adams, Bedford, Berks, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Delaware, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Sullivan, Wayne and Wyoming.
Farmers in the primary and contiguous drought counties may apply for low-interest emergency loans through their county farm service agency, provided they meet eligibility requirements. Producers have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply. The agency will consider each application on its own merit based on losses, available resources and repayment ability. To receive a loan application, farmers should contact their local farm service agency or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.