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Some area farmers eligible for USDA assistance from Tropical Storm Elsa damage

Producers can apply for federal loan
Posted at 1:21 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 13:21:01-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Farmers and producers in multiple area counties in Florida are in line to receive assistance from the federal government.

According to a news release provided by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the United States Department of Agriculture designated Lafayette, Taylor and Suwannee counties as contiguous natural disaster areas eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

They are part of a group of counties that include Dixie, Gilchrist, Alachua, Columbia and Levy counties that were impacted by Tropical Storm Elsa in July 2021.

Farmers in the designated counties have until Sept. 19 to apply for the loan.

Dixie and Gilchrist counties, which were the hardest hit by the storm, were designated as primary natural disaster areas eligible for Farm Service Agency emergency loans.

Previously, Columbia, Hamilton and Madison counties were designated as contiguous counties to Georgia disaster areas on October 18, 2021.

Producers in those counties have until June 18 to apply for assistance. Producers can apply at their local Farm Service Agency office.

Click here for more information on local Farm Service Agency offices in Florida.

The news release notes emergency loans can be used to meet recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

“While we were fortunate that the 2021 hurricane season was relatively quiet for Florida, all three storms that made landfall in the state did so in North Florida where our producers have been among the hardest hit by natural disasters of increasing severity in recent years,” Commissioner Fried said in a statement. “We are grateful to the USDA for providing this additional support, and we encourage all eligible producers to reach out to their local FSA office on this available federal disaster assistance.”