Ohio Gov. Taft Praises USDA Secretary for Designating 52 Counties Natural Disaster Areas

April 4, 2005

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft recently expressed appreciation for U.S Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns’ designation of 52 Ohio counties as natural disaster areas due to the freezing rain and flooding that occurred from Dec. 23, 2004 through Jan. 23, 2005.

“I’m pleased that the USDA has answered Ohio’s call to provide disaster assistance to farmers in those counties that need it the most,” Taft said. “Due to extreme conditions this past winter, farmers suffered great agricultural losses.”

The secretarial designations, requested by Taft in a letter to Johanns dated Feb. 17, 2005, will make farmers eligible for federal disaster assistance, in the form of emergency low-interest loans, in the following counties:

Allen, Athens, Ashland, Ashtabula, Auglaize, Brown, Champaign, Clermont, Clinton, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Geauga, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Knox, Lake, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Marion, Medina, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pickaway, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wood, and Wyandot. The list includes primary designated counties and their contiguous counties, both eligible for the same emergency relief.

This designation makes farm operation in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of the losses, security available and payment ability.

Those affected by the storm have eight months from the approved date of the Secretary’s declaration, March 25, 2005, to apply for disaster assistance. Farmers wanting to apply for disaster assistance can do so by calling their local farm service agency service center.

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