Few people take part in drought loan scheme, says FSA

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Farmers and ranchers in South Dakota could have applied for emergency loans tied to a declaration of natural disaster due to the drought, but few did, said Lacey Thorsness of the Farm Service Agency.

Sixteen counties were eligible as major natural disaster areas for drought in an application window that closed on February 25. 27 others were eligible as contiguous counties. In another round, three counties were designated primary natural disaster areas for drought in an application window that ended April 11. Eight others were eligible as contiguous counties.

“Emergency loans can be used to meet a variety of recovery needs, including replacing essentials such as equipment or livestock, reorganizing a farm operation, or refinancing certain debts,” the lender said. USDA in a statement.

“Emergency loans allow farmers and ranchers to borrow up to 100% of actual production or physical losses incurred, less any disaster-related compensation or insurance payouts received,” Thorsness said.

“Over the past few years there has been little activity in the emergency loan scheme but…the FSA has other options available to help farmers/ranchers,” Thorsness said.

These programs include Disaster Set Aside, Primary Loan Servicing and Direct Operating Loan, she said.

Eric Jennings, president of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, said two USDA livestock transportation programs have been helpful in the past.

A program helps pay for transportation costs of livestock feed. The other helps pay for transport costs to move cattle to feedlot, he said.

“A lot of that happened last fall,” Jennings said of moving livestock to feed.

Western cattle were moved to eastern South Dakota and parts of eastern Nebraska. They overwinter where there was food available such as stubble and corn stalks, he said.

“It’s a lot more economical than hauling feed for livestock,” Jennings said.

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