Taft seeks disaster status for Ohio

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COLUMBUS – Ohio Gov. Bob Taft requested a disaster declaration for 85 Ohio counties from USDA Secretary Ann Veneman due to agricultural losses caused by drought and other extreme weather.

After a disaster declaration by the USDA, farmers in these counties and contiguous counties will be eligible for federal disaster assistance in the form of emergency low-interest loans.

“Ohio farmers were hit hard by excessive spring rains as well as frost, freeze, hail, and tornado damage during the growing season and now are suffering through one of the worst droughts in our history,” Taft said. “Many will need USDA assistance to cope with their losses.”

The governor asked the USDA’s Farm Service Agency to compile damage assessment reports on Ohio counties hardest hit by the extreme weather.

State hard hit. In response, the FSA determined that 77 counties have suffered agricultural crop production losses due to the ongoing drought, meeting the criteria to be recommended for disaster designations.

Those counties are: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Auglaize, Brown, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Highland, Hocking, Huron, Jackson, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Pike, Portage, Preble, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Sandusky, Scioto, Seneca, Shelby, Summit, Tuscarawas, Union, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Williams, Wood and Wyandot.

The agency also determined that farmers in Belmont, Franklin, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Morrow, Pickaway and Stark counties have suffered both agricultural crop production losses and physical losses (such as livestock mortality) due to drought and other extreme weather conditions since March, also meeting the criteria to be recommended for disaster designations by the secretary.

Previous to this request, Taft has also requested disaster designations for 15 counties hit by frost, freeze, hail, and tornado damage from March through May of this year.

The counties include Ashtabula, Auglaize, Geauga, Fairfield, Gallia, Lucas, Muskingum, Lake, Morgan, Ross, Perry, Portage, Wood, Stark and Summit.

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