Ashe County farmers eligible for FSA emergency loans

Wil Petty Staff Writer

November 21, 2013

Farmers in Ashe County are eligible for Farm Service Agency Emergency loans, following an Oct. 29 declaration by President Barack Obama, which declared the county as part of a major disaster area.

Six counties in the state, including Ashe, were declared eligible for assistance following the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that occurred on July 27. Avery, Catawba, Lincoln, Watauga and Wilkes were also included in the declaration.

“(The declaration) was effective on Oct. 29 so farmers can apply for assistance through June 30, 2014,” said Melissa Hodges, farm loan manager for the FSA.

The loans can be used to restore or replace property, pay production costs associated with the disaster, pay family living expenses, reorganize the farming operation and refinancing debts relating to the farm, minus real estate.

Hodges said there is no estimate on the amount of money that has been put aside to cover the loans.

Alongside the six counties, an additional 12 are eligible for the emergency loans as they border one of the counties.

“That is the same disaster declaration,” Hodges said. “If your county has been declared a disaster area, any county which borders it are also brought into the disaster declaration.”

Hodges said farmers can go to the local office, inside the Agriculture Services building in Jefferson or fill out forms online.

Farmers who have experienced a physical or production loss with any crop should contact the local office.

The FSA office in Ashe also covers those affected in Alleghany County. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.