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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2005

Schumer Announces Farmers In 27 Upstate Counties Eligible For Emergency Loans

Counties Designated As Primary And Contiguous Disaster Areas As A Result Of Early Spring Frosts And Rains

Farmers Eligible To Apply For Federal Assistance From USDA – Farm Service Agency

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that twenty-seven Upstate New York counties have been designated as disaster areas by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) qualifying farmers in those counties for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loan assistance. The USDA designations come as the result of excessive rain, flooding and flash flooding affecting Upstate New York April 1 through April 23, and extreme and unseasonably cold temperatures, frost, and freezes between May 3 and May 17 which destroyed a significant portion of the production capacity of many farms.

“Farmers are already stretched too thin, and this designation will help them get some of the aid they need,” Schumer said. “No one can account for natural disasters, and these farmers deserve help. Family farms play a vital role in our communities and state economy, and we must do everything we can to help them out when they are down.”

Eight counties, Chenango, Columbia, Dutchess, Ontario, Rensselaer, Ulster, Wayne, and Westchester, were designated ‘primary’ natural disaster areas, meaning these eight counties sustained more than thirty-percent loss of at least one crop in the county. Nineteen counties, Albany, Broome, Cayuga, Cortland, Delaware, Greene, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Otsego, Saratoga, Seneca, Steuben, Sullivan, Washington, and Yates, were labeled ‘contiguous’ disaster areas due to significant crop loss and proximity to primary regions.

Farmers who own or operate land in contiguous and primary disaster areas are eligible for low-interest emergency loans from FSA of up to 100 percent of actual loss to a maximum of $500,000. Applicants must prove that they have suffered at least a thirty-percent loss in crop production or physical loss in livestock, real estate or chattel property, have acceptable credit history, are unable to receive credit from commercial sources, can provide collateral to secure the loan, and have repayment ability. Emergency loans can be used to restore or replace essential property, pay all or part of production costs from the disaster year, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the farming operation, and refinance certain debts.

The FSA routinely provides emergency loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, unseasonable temperatures, or other natural disasters. One-half to two-thirds of the counties in the United States have been designated as disaster areas in the past several years. Since its creation in 1994, the FSA has taken on the goals of stabilizing farm income, helping farmers conserve land and water resources, providing credit to new or disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and helping farm operations recover from the effects of disaster.

For more information and application information, please visit the USDA at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/emloan.htm or contact the local USDA service center, http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.

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