Washington, DC – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that several counties in northeastern and central Pennsylvania are now eligible for two USDA disaster assistance programs. After reviewing Loss Assessment Reports, the USDA determined that there were sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial disaster designation due to losses caused by ongoing drought conditions.
Sixteen counties – including Luzerne, Northumberland, Snyder and Union – have been designated as primary national disaster areas and 22 counties – including Lackawanna, Lycoming, Montour, Pike, Sullivan, Wayne and Wyoming – have been named as contiguous disaster counties.
A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program, to help recover from production and physical losses due to the drought.
“Congressman Carney is committed to doing all he can to help local farmers who have been hit hard by factors outside of their control,” said Sarah Cogan, a spokesperson for Congressman Carney. “This Secretarial disaster designation is a crucial step towards ensuring that our farmers can recoup their costs of production and stay on the farm during these difficult times.”
Farmers in eligible counties may begin applying for FSA emergency loans today, and must do so within eight months. SURE Program applications will be accepted in 2011, when the 2010 farm revenue data required by statute becomes available. Congressman Carney encourages those affected by the on going drought conditions to contact his Clarks Summit office at 866-846-8124, as well as their local FSA office, for more information and assistance.