USDA Adjusts Disaster Relief

Robin Talley, Acting State Executive Director, USDA Farm Service Agency

USDA has announced three significant improvements to disaster relief programs: (1) a streamlined disaster designation process, (2) lower emergency loan interest rates, and (3) lower rental payment adjustments when Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres are used for emergency haying and grazing.

Counties labeled by the U.S. Drought Monitor as in a severe drought for eight consecutive growing-season weeks will automatically receive a secretarial designation as disaster areas. As a result, Kent and Sussex counties were designated as natural disaster areas effective July 12.

All qualified farm operators in Kent and Sussex counties, as well as in contiguous counties, may be eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Effective July 15, emergency loan interest rates will be lowered from the current rate of 3.75% to 2.25%.

Livestock producers using CRP acres in the Emergency Haying and Grazing program will also get a financial break. Effective immediately, instead of losing 25% of their annual CRP rental payments when they turn that land over for much-needed forage, producers will only lose 10%.

Emergency haying and grazing has not yet been authorized in Delaware. Please contact your local FSA office if you are interested in haying or grazing CRP acreage, or for more information about the emergency loan program.

New Castle County: 302-832-3100, ext. 2

Kent County: 302-741-2600, ext. 2

Sussex County: 302-856-3990, ext. 2