USDA designates Big Isle as primary natural disaster area


The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Hawaii County on Wednesday as a primary natural disaster area due to damages and losses caused by Tropical Storm Iselle.

The USDA reviewed the county’s loss assessment reports and determined that “there were sufficient production losses to warrant” the designation, according to Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack.

”A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the FSA (Farm Service Agency), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans,” he wrote in the declaration announcement.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans, the letter says. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm, and the secuurity and repayment ability of the operator.

More information is available at the USDA Farm Service Agency of Hawaii and Pacific Basin website.

Visit the Hawaii County Farm Service Agency in Hilo at 154 Waianuenue Ave., Room 322, or call 933-8381, extention 2. The FSA asks drop-ins to call for an appointment before coming by the office due to the recent increase in visits, and to ensure they bring the correct paperwork with them.

 

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