Feb. 04 -- Colusa farmers facing disaster in the face of a devastating drought just got a little help. On January 22 , the United States Department of Agriculture designated 26 California counties, including Colusa , as primary disaster areas due to the recent drought. Farm operators that meet requirements will be eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the USDA's Farm Service Agency . "For growers to weather this year, it's going to be tough," said Colusa County Supervisor Denise Carter . "Based just on what you hear, everybody is going to be fallowing. There are still a lot of costs you are going to have when you are farming, even if you are fallowing." Farmers have until Sept. 22 date of designation to apply for an FSA emergency loan, which allows them to borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses up to $500,000 . Loans for crop, livestock, and non-real estate losses are normally repaid within one to seven years, with a term of 20 years allowed under special circumstances. The loans can be used to restore or replace essential property, to pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year, to pay essential family living expenses, to reorganize farming operations and to refinance certain debts. To qualify, an applicant must own or operate land located in a county designated a primary disaster area. Applicants must be established family farm operators who have sufficient farming or ranching experience and are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. Producers seeking an emergency loan must have suffered at least a 30 percent loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate or chattel property in the disaster year. The Farm Service Agency's loan requirements also stipulate that borrowers must keep acceptable farm records and operate in accordance with a farm plan they develop and agree to with local FSA staff. They may also be required to participate in a financial management training program and to obtain crop insurance. "I don't know how many people are going to apply for it, but at least it is something in the way of assistance. It's a loan -- nothing is being given away," said Carter. -- Brian Pearson ___ (c)2014 the Colusa County Sun-Herald (Colusa, Calif.) Visit the Colusa County Sun-Herald (Colusa, Calif.) at www.colusa-sun-herald.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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