USDA has designated a number of counties in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota as primary natural disaster areas, due to losses caused by multiple disasters that occurred in the 2016 crop year.
The most counties affected were in North Dakota. Dozens were impacted during 2016, due to losses caused by drought that occurred from April 1 through Oct. 1; from losses caused by excessive rain, high winds, tornados and hail that occurred throughout the year; and from losses caused by frost and freeze, followed by excessive heat that occurred from March 15 through June 15.
In Minnesota, farmers in Kittson, Marshall, Norman and Polk counties qualify for natural disaster assistance, because those counties are contiguous to those affected in North Dakota.
Farm operators living in designated natural disaster areas are eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency low emergency loans, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.
Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include operating and farm ownership loans; the Emergency Conservation Program; the Livestock Forage Disaster Program; the Livestock Indemnity Program; the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA service centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at disaster.fsa.usda.gov.