COLUMBUS – Ohio Gov. Bob Taft has asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman to designate 52 Ohio counties as disaster areas due to agricultural losses caused by flooding and extreme weather since May.
The designation would make crop and livestock farmers in the 52 counties and contiguous counties eligible for disaster assistance programs.
In the past, such assistance has come most often in the form of federal emergency low-interest loans.
Counties affected. According to official damage assessment reports, roughly half the affected counties suffered agricultural crop production and physical losses such as damaged farm machinery: Allen, Athens, Auglaize, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Fayette, Greene, Guernsey, Hancock, Henry, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Logan, Mahoning, Medina, Montgomery, Noble, Perry, Preble, Tuscarawas, Union, Washington and Wayne.
The other half suffered crop production losses only: Ashtabula, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Geauga, lake, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Marion, Morgan, Muskingum, Ottawa, Paulding, Portage, Sandusky, Scioto, Seneca, Summit, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot.
Federal loan eligibility. If the designation is made, affected farmers may qualify for federal emergency loans if they have suffered at least a 30 percent loss in crop production and meet other eligibility and loan requirements.
In counties suffering physical losses, farmers would also have to prove disaster damages to real estate or moveable property essential to the farm’s operation.
Farmers should consult with their local USDA Farm Service Agency to determine their eligibility.
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