With winter refusing to go quietly, recent storms and their effects in neighboring counties have led to federal disaster declarations being issued for several Northwest Iowa counties, including Palo Alto County. The Iowa State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency has designated 22 Iowa counties as part of a Secretarial Natural Disaster Declaration.
As a result of the federal declarations, any farm operators who have suffered major production and/or physical losses caused by the combined effects of freezing temperatures and/or continuing drought conditions may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans. The designation means that producers in the eligible counties can qualify for low-interest emergency loans since their counties have been declared a federal agricultural disaster or they are next to declared counties. Some producers qualify because of freezing temperatures experienced in April of 2012, while some qualify because of the drought conditions in 2012.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers affected by the April 2012 freezing temperatures located in Dickinson, Emmet, Howard, Osceola, and Winneshiek counties must apply for the loans by Aug. 5 of this year. Farmers in Decatur, Fremont, Page Ringgold and Taylor are eligible due to the drought and must apply by Sept. 9, 2013.
Additional counties qualifying for the drought assistance include Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Potawatamie, and Wood- bury. Deadline for application is Dec. 10, 2013.
As part of the disaster declarations, Kossuth County and contiguous counties; Palo Alto, Emmet, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Worth and Hancock Counties also are eligible to apply for assistance. The deadline for making application there is Nov. 20, 2013.
Producers with questions or needing more information should contact their local county Farm Service Agency office.
Additionally, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad issued a disaster proclamation for ten counties in northwest Iowa. The counties included in the proclamation were Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth and Sioux.
The proclamation stemmed from torms that played havoc in the region last week, bringing wind, rain and ice storm conditions that led to damage to both public and private property
The proclamation allows for the use of state resources to respond and offer recovery efforts from the effects of the storms, such as removal of debris and wreckage on public or private lands.
For more information on this disaster assistance, individuals should contact their local Emergency Management Office.