Local producers eligible for emergency loans
September 24, 2020
Because Crook County is contiguous to one of the two Wyoming counties that was last week designated a primary natural disaster area, producers here are now eligible to apply for emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Last week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designate Campbell and Converse counties as primary natural disaster areas due to the drought conditions that have affected much of Wyoming this year. This declaration opened up the emergency farm loan program in those counties, and also here in Crook County and in Albany, Carbon, Johnson, Natrona, Niobrara, Platte, Sheridan and Weston.
Drought conditions have now reached extreme levels across much of the center of Wyoming, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. This forms part of a large area of extreme drought also covering central and western Colorado and most of Utah, as well as portions of Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
Campbell County is seeing conditions ranging from abnormally dry to severe, while Converse County ranges from severe to extreme drought. Here in Crook County, the central southern and north portions of the county are currently experiencing abnormally dry conditions, while the rest of the county is listed under “moderate drought”.
The U.S Drought Monitor describes moderate drought as a situation in which hay and forage yield is low and supplemental feed is needed for cattle; fire danger is elevated; and creeks and rivers are low, reducing the availability of irrigation water.
The FSA’s emergency loan program is triggered when a natural disaster or emergency is declared either by the president or secretary of agriculture. It aims to help producers who suffer qualifying farm-related losses directly caused by that disaster.
To be eligible, a rancher or farmer must either see a 30% reduction in their primary crop or loss of quality, such as a 30% drop in the price of flood-damaged produce. Loans can be used to restore or replace property, pay production costs, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize a family farming operation or refinance certain operating debts.
The deadline to apply for an emergency loan is May 4. Contact your local USDA service center for more information.