Chesterton Tribune

More Indiana counties added to drought disaster lists

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Two additional Indiana counties have been declared primary natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Farm Service Agency:

• Warren County

• Jackson County

One additional county has been declared contiguous (bordering county):

• Scott County

The announcement comes as the state awaits response to a recent letter requesting that the USDA declare all 92 counties in Indiana as natural disaster areas. Such a move would make all Indiana farmers eligible to apply for assistance, due to losses caused by extreme drought.

“As the drought continues, the need for assistance becomes even more apparent,” said Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. “We are all working on behalf of Indiana’s farmers and doing everything we can to help get them through this difficult situation.”

Currently a total of 81 counties are eligible for federal programs. In Indiana 66 been declared primary natural disaster areas, while 15 contiguous counties are also eligible for aid. This means farmers in each of these counties can apply for low-interest emergency loans through the department’s Farm Service Agency.

The announcement by the USDA also includes improved flexibility in the Conservation Reserve Program, making more livestock producers and landowners eligible for emergency haying and grazing. Many crop insurance companies are also agreeing to provide a short grace period for farmers on 2012 premiums.

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Posted 8/2/2012