Earlier this week, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, declared parts of the 16th Congressional District eligible for disaster assistance due to heat and drought conditions beginning on February 1, 2012. The designation came as a result of Governor John Kasich's request for assistance.
A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the disaster designation to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available and repayment ability.
There can be no doubt farmers in the 16th District have been struggling to cope with the persistent drought conditions we have faced this year. We have been hit especially hard in Ashland, Wayne, Medina, and Stark counties -- all of which are covered by this designation. This also shows how important it is for the Senate to pass the farm disaster assistance bill the House has already approved.
I want to thank Governor Kasich for requesting this assistance and Secretary Vilsack for approving it. I encourage farmers seeking assistance to contact their local Farm Service Agency office or my Canton office at (330) 489-4414.