Smith County farmers and those in the surrounding East Texas area may be eligible for emergency loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for producers recovering from natural disasters until August.
The USDA is considering loans for producers in 23 Texas counties affected by drought, including Camp, Hopkins, Titus, Wood, Franklin, Knox, Upshur, Baylor, Harrison, Marion, Smith, Delta, Haskell, Morris, Stonewall, Foard, Hunt, Rains, Throckmorton, Gregg, King, Red River and Van Zandt counties.
“According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered from a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme or D4 Drought-Exceptional.” a USDA statement on the act said.
A D1 USDA drought classification describes droughts with abnormally dry conditions with short term dryness and “lingering water deficits,” according to the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Droughts with a D3 or D4 classification typically show signs of major to widespread crop losses and water shortages or emergencies.
“Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.” the statement said.
Producers may apply for the USDA emergency loan through the department’s website at www.farmers.gov/protection-recovery/disaster-tool. Farmers may also find more information about emergency loans by contacting a USDA Service Center, which may be located at www.farmers.gov/working-with-us/service-center-locator.