Drought Recovery Loan Fund Established for Maryland Farmers

Applications are due by December 15

ANNAPOLIS (Sept. 13, 2007) - Because of the severe drought and associated crop losses in Maryland this year, the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) has created a loan fund to help farmers with weather-related income losses. The 2007 Farm Drought and Weather Event Recovery Assistance Loan Fund aims to help agricultural businesses maintain viability and recover from production and revenue losses by offering low-interest operating loans to producers who have suffered significant crop, livestock, feed and/or dairy losses.

"We are pleased to offer this financial assistance to producers and rural businesses suffering from the affects of the hot, dry weather this summer," said Governor Martin O'Malley in a prepared statement. "MARBIDCO is proving its flexibility by responding quickly to real needs in our rural communities. Together with the federal disaster designation, relaxed rules in the Conservation Reserve Program, and other assistance from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, we are working to provide the help our farmers need to get through this hardship."

Applicants may apply for this program to pay all or part of production costs associated with the adverse weather-related event and pay essential family living expenses. Loans of up to $75,000 are available ($150,000 if land is used as collateral) at a 5% fixed APR interest rate, and are made on a first come, first served basis. All loans must be fully collateralized and can be paid back over a period of up to five years (seven years if land is used as collateral). Interest-only payments can be made until January 2009. At least $1 million is currently available in the fund.

Applying for a low-interest loan is relatively easy. Producers or rural business owners must submit appropriate evidence of financial loss due to the 2007 drought or other weather-related event. Eligible circumstances include situations where there is an uninsured casualty loss or documented loss of production income. Applicants should be participating in some type of USDA Risk Management Agency-supported crop insurance coverage if it is available for the particular commodity; however, final settlement of insurance claims need not be completed prior to making an application. Applicants must also provide a referral letter - not a rejection - from the commercial lending institution with which they have a business relationship.

All applications must be mailed to MARBIDCO Loan Programs, 1410 Forest Drive, Suite 28, Annapolis, MD 21403 and be postmarked by Saturday, December 15, 2007 For more information, please call the MARBIDCO office at: 410/267-6807. Applications are available by calling the MARBIDCO office or by logging onto www.marbidco.org.

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