Hawaii farmers get federal help for crop damage caused by volcanic emissions

August 16, 2010, 1:07 PM HST · Updated August 16, 1:07 PM
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated Hawaii County in Hawaii as a natural disaster area due to losses caused by volcanic emissions that began Jan. 1, 2010.

“President Obama and I understand these conditions caused severe damage to the cut flower and fresh produce industry, and we want to help,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This action will provide help to hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses.”

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Hawaii County was designated a natural disaster area on Aug. 11, 2010, creating opportunities for farmers to qualify for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).  Farmers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.  Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.

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