Sept. 21--Wilson County is one of 13 counties in North Carolina designated as a primary natural disaster area due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain and flooding this year.
The other counties are Avery, Cleveland, Henderson, Rutherford, Brunswick, Columbus, Madison, Transylvania, Buncombe, Durham, Orange and Watauga.
The designation was declared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In early June, Wilson County some farmers had one of the prettiest crops started that growers had seen in years. Wilson County fared OK when a tropical storm blew through in early June. But after the tropical storm, it kept raining and raining.
Officials said during a two-week period in late June into early July, Wilson County received rain 12 out of 14 days. The county received two to three times the normal amount of rainfall for this time of year limiting growers in what they could do.
Some operations came to almost a complete standstill.
Farmers and ranchers in these additional counties in North Carolina also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are: Alamance, Chatham, Jackson, New Hanover, Robeson, Ashe, Edgecombe, Johnston, Pender, Wake, Bladen, Gaston, Lincoln, Person, Wayne, Burke, Granville, McDowell, Pitt, Wilkes, Caldwell, Greene, Mitchell, Polk, Yancey, Caswell, Haywood and Nash.
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas Sept. 18, 2013, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover.
Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
"Our hearts go out to those North Carolina farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters," said Tom Vilsack, federal agriculture secretary, in a statement. "President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation's economy by sustaining the successes of America's farmers, ranchers and rural communities through these difficult times. We're also telling North Carolina producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood."
Vilsack also reminds producers that Congress has not funded the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill. These are SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.
Contact the Wilson County FSA office at (252) 237-5147, ext. 2 or visit the Office located at 1806 Goldsboro Street, SW, Wilson, NC for additional information concerning FSA programs and opportunities.