LEONARDTOWN, Md. (November 29, 2011)—Farmers in St. Mary's County who battled extreme weather conditions in 2011 can now seek federal assistance for their losses. Governor Martin O'Malley has announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved his request for a disaster declaration to cover widespread crop losses due to excessive heat, drought and damage resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
"Because farmers throughout most of Maryland experienced significant crop losses, we requested a disaster designation and thank USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack for granting it," said Governor O'Malley. "It is our hope that the designation will provide relief to the farmers who need it and help them prepare for the next growing season."
"From April through October, Maryland farmers experienced widespread crop losses due to a variety of extreme weather conditions ranging from excessive heat, drought and flooding," said Buddy Hance, secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. "Farmers in the disaster designation areas experienced market value losses exceeding 30 percent."
The designation makes farm operators in St. Mary's County eligible for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers must have purchased crop insurance on eligible crops to quality for USDA disaster assistance programs.
This assistance includes USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available, and repayment ability. SURE Program applications for 2011 crop losses will be accepted in 2012, when the 2011 farm revenue data required by statute becomes available.
Source: St. Mary's County Government