Farmers impacted by drought can apply for disaster assistance

Published 1:21 pm Thursday, March 10, 2022

Farmers in six Virginia counties and 21 contiguous areas who suffered losses caused by last summer’s drought may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency emergency loans.

The counties eligible for the FSA emergency loans are Buckingham, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Smyth and Washington. The eligible contiguous areas are Albemarle, Appomattox, Bland, Clarke, Culpeper, Cumberland, Fairfax, Fluvanna, Grayson, Nelson, Prince Edward, Rappahannock, Russell, Scott, Stafford, Tazewell, Warren and Wythe counties and the cities of Bristol, Manassas and Manassas Park.

The USDA recently announced it has designated localities affected by the extreme weather that occurred May 1, 2021, through Oct. 15, 2021, as primary natural disaster areas. This declaration will “allow eligible farmers who suffered drought losses last year to access emergency loans, which can be used to offset 2021 income losses,” explained Tony Banks, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s senior assistant director of agriculture, development and innovation.

The loans can be used to replace livestock, equipment and other essential items, refinance debt, or reorganize a farming operation. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

To learn more about eligibility requirements and to apply, contact your local USDA service center or visit farmers.gov/recover.