Kan. Governor Seeks Federal Agricultural Disaster Designation

May 2, 2007

While the extent of freeze damage to Kansas crops is still being calculated, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius assured farmers last week that she will seek a federal agricultural disaster designation for counties hit hardest.

Counties could qualify if they meet a 30 percent crop production loss threshold because of an early April freeze that damaged wheat statewide, Sebelius said in a news release.

With a USDA secretarial disaster declaration, farmers and ranchers will be eligible for emergency low-interest loans to cover up to 100 percent of actual production and physical losses.

“We’re just beginning to be able to assess the impact freezing temperatures had on this year’s wheat crop,” Sebelius said in a statement. “Once we have a handle on the extent of that damage, we’ll be in a better position to seek the disaster designations.”

The State Emergency Board met last week to discuss wheat freeze damage and concluded that Kansas Agricultural Statistics May 11 crop report may be the first report on the freezing temperature’s effect on this year’s crop.

Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky said unseasonably warm temperatures in March caused wheat to develop early, which made it more susceptible to damage when temperatures dropped into the teens across Kansas from April 4 to April 10.

Kansas is the nation’s leading wheat producer and roughly one-third of Kansas’ 63,000 farmers grow wheat.

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