On July 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated 14 counties, mostly in Eastern Washington, as primary natural disaster areas. The declaration allows the Farm Service Agency (FSA) the ability to offer emergency loans to producers to help them replace essential equipment, inputs or the refinance of farm-related debts.
Producers in 10 Washington counties that are contiguous to the primary counties are also eligible to apply for emergency loans. A federal drought designation is made when a county has a D2 (severe drought) conditions for eight weeks in a row or a D3 (extreme drought) conditions during the growing season.
The primary counties are Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima. The contiguous counties are Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, King, Lewis, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Pierce and Skamania.
FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. The application deadline is Feb. 22, 2022. Producers are encouraged to contact their local USDA service center.
Producers can find more information on emergency farm loans at Emergency Farm Loans. Other natural disaster programs offered by FSA include:
- Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)provides payments to eligible producers of livestock, to help compensate for losses due to adverse weather or other conditions, such as wildfires.
- Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)provides compensation for grazing losses for covered livestock on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or certain crops planted specifically for grazing. The grazing losses must be due to a qualifying drought condition or fire on federally managed land during the normal grazing period for the county.
- Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides benefits to livestock owners and some contract growers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality that are the direct result of an eligible adverse weather event. In addition, LIP covers attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law.
- Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) provides funding to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters including fence lost to fire, and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures during periods of severe drought.
- CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing. Emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres may be authorized to provide relief to livestock producers in areas affected by a severe drought or similar natural disaster. Contact your local FSA office to begin the process prior to turning cows out.
The Risk Management Agency (RMA) has also published information about drought and prevented planting and drought-damaged crops at Prevented Planting Insurance Provisions Drought | RMA (usda.gov) and Crop Insurance and Drought-Damaged Crops | RMA (usda.gov)