Governor Says Feds Declare Disaster Area in N.C. Counties

September 17, 2007

Farmers across North Carolina are now eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the federal government to help them recover from sizable crop losses sustained in the state’s ongoing drought, Gov. Mike Easley said Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a drought-related disaster in 85 counties. Because it also applies to 11 contiguous counties, farmers in all but four of the state’s 100 counties can seek assistance. Easley sent a letter last month to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns requesting the disaster declaration.

“This declaration is a good first step that will provide financial assistance for eligible farmers to help them recover some of their losses and get ready for the next growing season,” Easley said in a statement. “Our farmers need all the help they can get.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s loss assessments show farmers in 85 counties have experienced at least a 30 percent loss of at least one significant crop. Farmers can apply for the loans through their local U.S. Farm Service Agency office, Easley’s office said.

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