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|Landrieu says parish farmers to receive relief funding|
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said Concordia farmers will benefit from agriculture disaster relief funding included in President Barrack Obama's economy recovery bill passed last week.
"I have worked since last fall to pass a bill that would send assistance to farmers impacted by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike," Landrieu said Tuesday. "In Louisiana alone, the 2008 disasters caused $1 billion in lost revenue."
She said, "Concordia, in particular, was among the hardest hit parishes. Without aid, I fear that many farmers would be forced to stop farming because they simply will not have the means to continue."
But, she said, "Help is now on the way. At my request, the economic recovery package includes $752 million to help farmers who suffered from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and other recent national disasters. Agriculture disaster relief will be available for crop damage including to cotton and soybean farmers in Concordia."
Landrieu said "these funds will allow farmers to pay a small administrative fee to qualify for the SURE program even if they did not purchase coverage for 2008. To enroll, farmers must sign up within 90 days of the legislation's enactment, which was on February 17."
Approximately 50 percent of Louisiana farmers had not purchased necessary coverage to qualify for a SURE payment, she said. The Landrieu language in the bill will allow Louisiana farmers to retroactively qualify for this assistance.
Louisiana will receive up to $200 million in agriculture relief.
Landrieu also said legislation -- the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- is estimated to create or sustain 50,000 Louisiana jobs.
The senator said the legislation directs billions of dollars to Louisiana projects and programs, and the state will benefit from additional tax relief for individuals and small businesses.
Landrieu added that the state will also receive $718.1 million in State Stabilization Funds, which allow state and local governments that are suffering from budget shortfalls to pay for education programs and other services. In addition, Sen. Landrieu shepherded provisions to free up hurricane recovery funds and remove the $5 million cap for community disaster loans.
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