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Surry among 85 N.C. counties in “disaster area’

September 14th, 2007 · No Comments

Gov. Mike Easley announced today the U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted his request to have 85 North Carolina counties, including Surry, designated as disaster areas due to the ongoing drought in North Carolina. Under USDA rules, 11 contiguous counties were also included in the disaster declaration.

The declaration makes low-interest Emergency Disaster Loans available to farmers who cannot get credit elsewhere.

Three weeks ago, Easley announced he would ask for the disaster declaration due to major losses in crops including corn, cotton, hay, pasture, peanuts, soybeans and tobacco. Surry County has not felt the drought’s effects as much as other parts of the state — according to the Sept. 10 N.C. Weather & Crops Report, Surry County has had 29 inches of precipitation since Jan. 1 and is only 3.19 inches below average — but last spring’s Easter freeze caused severe damage to crops including vinifera grapes and other fruit.

“I am pleased the U.S. Department of Agriculture has acted on our request,” said Easley. “The drought this summer, coming on top of the Easter freeze and the windstorm last spring, has devastated many farms across the state. This declaration is a good first step that will provide financial assistance for eligible farmers to help them recover some of their losses and get ready for the next growing season. Our farmers need all the help they can get.”

USDA Damage Assessment Reports show 85 counties with a 30 percent or greater loss of at least one significant crop, Easley noted. Many farmers have already exhausted their winter hay supplies and have had to find other sources of feed for cattle.

Eligible farmers can apply for the loans from the Farm Service Agency. The deadline for applying for the loans is May 12, 2008. Surry County farmers should contact the Farm Service Agency office at 220 Cooper St. in Dobson.

Tags: Agriculture · Businesses

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