Drought Loans Available to Box Elder Farmers and Ranchers | Head of Tremonton

Farmers and ranchers in Box Elder County can now apply for emergency loans from the federal government to help cover their losses during what has become the worst drought to hit Utah and much of the West the United States for decades.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared drought areas in dozens of counties across a wide swath of western states, granting loans of up to $ 500,000 to crop and livestock producers. in affected areas.

The eligibility window for Box Elder County opened as part of an announcement declaring natural disaster zones covering all of Idaho, as well as several counties in Utah, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington. Similar statements have been made for counties in other western states that have faced record high temperatures and historically severe drought in recent weeks.

The relief program, administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency, is triggered when drought conditions deemed “severe” exist for eight consecutive weeks or “extreme” drought conditions are observed for four consecutive weeks.

“Emergency loans can be used to meet a variety of recovery needs, including replacing essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganizing farming operations or refinancing certain debts,” a statement said. USDA Press Release. “The FSA will review the loans based on the extent of the losses, the available security and the ability to repay.”

Loans are made available to farmers and ranchers who meet certain criteria and can prove that they have suffered a loss of at least 30% of agricultural production or physical losses of livestock, livestock products, real estate or other personal property due to the drought.

Borrowers must keep acceptable farm records, work with local FSA staff to implement a plan for their operations, and may be required to participate in a financial management training program and obtain crop insurance.

Producers can borrow up to 100% of actual production or physical losses, with a maximum loan amount of $ 500,000. Interest rates on loans can vary and as of July 1 they ranged from 1.875% to 3.25%.

Loans for crop, livestock and non-real estate losses are normally repaid in one to seven years, but terms of up to 20 years are sometimes offered in certain circumstances. Loans for physical losses on real estate are normally repaid over 30 years, but can sometimes be extended for up to 40 years.

Although not specifically designated as a drought-stricken area, Box Elder County is eligible for the FSA program because it shares a border with Oneida County, one of the 14 counties in Idaho included in the main disaster reporting area.

In Utah, Rich County received a primary disaster designation, which means Cache, Morgan, Summit, and Weber counties are also eligible as counties that share a border with it.

Farmers asking for help are encouraged to visit websites farmers.gov or fsa.usda.gov/farmloans to learn more about emergency loans and begin the application process. The deadline for applications is February 25, 2022.

The drought disaster declarations are based in part on data measurements from the US Drought Monitor, which currently ranks more than 98% of Utah in its two worst categories: extreme drought and exceptional drought. Almost two-thirds of the state currently falls into the “exceptional” category, which is the most severe level on the scale. Box Elder County is currently classified in the “extreme” category.

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