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Nov 30, 2020
USDA grants disaster designation to five Michigan counties

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Nov. 27 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted a disaster designation to five Michigan counties, which makes farm operators in those counties – as well as in several contiguous counties – eligible for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency, including FSA emergency loans.

“This is great news for our farmers who suffered crop damage from an unexpected frost and freeze in May followed by drought in the summer months,” said Whitmer. “I am grateful to the USDA for recognizing this crisis and the need of support for Michigan farmers.”

“This is a huge relief for so many of our farmers who were hit with one disaster after another this past year,” said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “We know that those impacted still have much to overcome, but Michigan farmers are resilient and determined. This announcement by USDA will not only expedite their recovery, but it should also help ease their minds as we move through the holidays and into the coming winter.”

In July and November, the Michigan State Executive Director of USDA FSA requested a primary county disaster designation for five Michigan counties due to losses caused by multiple disasters that occurred in the 2020 crop year. At that time, USDA was unable to make a complete and accurate determination of production losses for the current crop year.

USDA subsequently reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports and determined that there were sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation. All five counties were determined to be primary natural disaster areas, and additional areas of the state were named as contiguous disaster counties.

Designation Number 1: Frost and freeze that occurred during May 5 through May 14, 2020:

  • Primary Counties: Antrim, Grand Traverse, Leelanau.
  • Contiguous Counties: Benzie, Crawford, Manistee, Otsego, Charlevoix, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Wexford.

Designation Number 2: Drought that occurred during June 29 through September 26, 2020:

  • Primary Counties: Antrim, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Otsego.
  • Contiguous Counties: Benzie, Cheboygan, Manistee, Montmorency, Roscommon, Charlevoix, Crawford, Missaukee, Oscoda, Wexford.

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

Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.

For additional information about FSA emergency loans, visit here.

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