Castle Valley region, 27 counties issued federal agriculture disaster designation
Castle Valley farmers and ranchers who sustained losses due to drought, grasshopper or Mormon cricket infestation, frost, hail and high winds are eligible to apply for low-interest federal emergency loans.
United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Vene-man issued a primary disaster designation for all 29 Utah counties July 1.
The USDA reviewed reports from Utah Farm Service Agency and determined the counties sustained sufficient losses to warrant the designation.
"This designation makes all farm operators in primary counties eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met," said Veneman. "FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability."
According to the governor's office of planning and budget, the direct economic impacts to Utah farmers and ranchers is estimated at $167 million dollars, resulting in the loss of 2,700 jobs.
The broader financial impact on economic multiplier businesses servicing or benefiting from agriculture enterprises in the counties extends the loss to more than $400 million.
"I encourage all Utah farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by this year's drought, insect infestation or other natural disaster to contact their local FSA representative," said state agriculture commissioner Cary Peterson.
The federal emergency disaster loans are available to Castle Valley ranchers and farmers who have suffered a qualifying physical or production loss of at least 30 percent in essential enterprise.
The loan limit is up to 100 percent of actual production or physical loss.
The current interest rate on the federal disaster loans is 3.75 percent.
Maximum indebtedness under the program is $500,000.
Local FSA officers can provide affected farmers and ranchers with additional information. But Carbon and Emery residents must apply for disaster loans before March 3.
Carbon and Emery farmers or ranchers may contact the local FSA office at 435 381-2300.