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Ongoing Maui Drought Leads to USDA Disaster Designation

May 8, 2012, 3:42 PM HST · Updated May 8, 3:46 PM
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File photo of dry brush along the Pali section of the Honoapiilani Highway, by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The US Department of Agriculture designated Maui County as a primary natural disaster area due to losses caused by an ongoing drought.

“Assistance at this point and time is critically important for producers in Hawaii, especially in helping them keep their farmland healthy for the remainder of the year,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement.

“President Obama and I realize that during this time of disaster, federal assistance will be needed until conditions improve and farmers strive to recover from their losses,” said Vilsack.

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The May 7, 2012, disaster designation makes all qualified farm operators on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

Farmers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

Farm Service Agency will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

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There are a variety of other programs that are also available to help eligible farmers recover from adversity including: Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

In order to qualify, eligibility requirements must be met.  Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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