Federal drought assistance available

QCS Staff

Quay County is among 27 counties in New Mexico qualifying for emergency loan assistance from the federal Farm Service Agency (FSA) due to losses caused by the ongoing drought, according to a statement issued jointly by U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján, and Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The designation makes producers, farmers and ranchers in these counties eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans, provided eligibility requirements are met, the statement said.

Funds are available for up to a maximum of $500,000 for each applicant and may be used to restore or replace essential property; pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year; pay essential family living expenses; reorganize the farming operation; and refinance certain debts, the statement said.

The USDA has declared Quay and other New Mexico counties to be primary natural disaster areas, the statement said, after “suffering from droughts of severe, extreme and exceptional intensity during the growing season for eight or more consecutive weeks.”

“Severe drought conditions across New Mexico are leaving farmers and ranchers throughout the state struggling, impacting their livelihoods as well as our economy,” said Luján, whose Third Congressional District includes Quay County. “The disaster declaration by the Secretary of Agriculture will make important resources available to help farmers make ends meet during this difficult time. It is also vital that Congress completes work on a new farm bill that takes steps to help farmers and ranchers better endure severe drought conditions.”

Through the FSA emergency loan program, farm operators can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, the statement said. To qualify, they must have suffered at least a 30 percent loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate or chattel property.

Farm operators have eight months following the date of the disaster declaration to apply through their local Farm Service Agency office, the statement said.

The Quay County Farm Service Agency is at 706 S. First St., Tucumcari. The agency can be reached by calling (575) 461-0793.sheet&type=detail&item=pf_20120716_farln_en_2012emln.html.

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