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|Disaster declarations for crops in works|
While Concordia, Tensas and four other parishes were declared disaster areas earlier this week due to spring and early summer flooding, an announcement of an emergency declaration for drought is expected soon.
These declarations will allow farmers who suffered 30 percent or greater crops losses due to these weather-related events to apply for an emergency assistance loan, according to Kevin Case, County Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency in Concordia Parish.
"The main benefit from an emergency declaration is emergency loans," said Case.
Case also said that the sign-up for the 2008 SURE Program for 2008 crop losses will begin later in November.
"We expect this after the 15th of this month," said Case.
Case said recent rains have "caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop losses in Concordia Parish."
Meanwhile, it was announced on Monday that Concordia, Tensas, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Madison and West Feliciana have been named as contiguous natural disaster areas as a result of spring and early summer flooding, according to Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
The declaration is the result of flooding that occurred from April 25, 2009, through June 25, 2009.
Eight Mississippi counties were declared primary natural disaster areas.
Strain said he is still waiting on a decision from the USDA on a disaster declaration request after Louisiana experienced drought and excessive rainfall this year.
"Upon my request, Governor Jindal sent a letter urging the USDA for a natural disaster declaration," Strain said. "Earlier this summer, much of Louisiana was suffering from severe drought that likely will drastically reduce cotton, soybean and sweet potato yields.
"If that wasn't enough, producers have also been plagued by heavy rains in recent weeks, hampering harvest activities and further reducing crop yields and quality."
LSU AgCenter preliminary damage statistics estimate lost revenue for Louisiana's major commodities at $275 million caused by excessive rainfall during the last two months. Figures show cotton could suffer more than 46 percent loss in revenue, while sweet potatoes could lose more than 26 percent and soybeans more than 21 percent.
To apply for low-interest emergency loans and to inquire about other available programs, producers should contact their local FSA office. For additional information, visit disaster.fsa.usda.gov. Farmers in eligible parishes have eight months from the disaster declaration date to apply for the loans.
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