Ohio seeks disaster declaration for farmers

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delayed planting, wet field, Ohio farm,
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

The information in this story has been updated as of June 18 at noon.

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine requested U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster designation for Ohio June 14, in response to the weather’s impacts on Ohio farmers.

Ohio has had its wettest 12 months in more than a century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As of June 16, only 68% of Ohio’s corn was planted and Ohio’s soybean planting progress was at 46%. This is still behind the five-year average for both crops. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ohio farmers are usually 100% done planting corn and 94% done planting beans.

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Grain farmers facing ‘slow-motion disaster’

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency Ohio office also requested USDA disaster declarations for Fulton, Henry and Lucas counties June 14. If these counties are declared disaster areas, counties sharing borders with these three will also be included. This includes counties in Michigan contiguous to Fulton and Lucas counties.

These two requests are separate.

The Ohio Farm Bureau is requesting farmers who are having trouble planting this year contact their county FSA office. This will help FSA determine whether to make a disaster declaration request for that specific county, and will increase the chances for farmers who have been the most impacted by the heavy rainfall to be considered for disaster aid.

Recently, legislators approved additional disaster aid to compensate farmers’ losses up to 90%, although the USDA says it is “highly unlikely that the supplemental appropriation will support that level of coverage in addition to crop insurance.”

Acreage in declared disaster areas will be eligible for assistance, while areas outside these official disaster areas will be determined on a case-by-case basis. These disaster declarations, if approved, would give impacted Ohio farmers a better chance of receiving disaster aid from this legislation.

*Update

As of Tuesday at noon, the USDA had not acted on the disaster requests. However, President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 10 Ohio counties to assist those affected by tornadoes, severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and landslides last month. This was in response to a separate disaster declaration request Gov. DeWine made June 11.

The 10 counties are Auglaize, Darke, Greene, Hocking, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Muskingum, Perry and Pickaway. These counties can now receive assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Individual Assistance Program, Disaster Legal Services Program and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

The state can also now apply for crisis counseling and disaster unemployment assistance, and for disaster case management help.

To register for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance, individuals and businesses in these counties that have been affected by the storms can visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 800-621-3362.

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