State Requests Federal Disaster Aid For 85 Counties

Gov. Mike Easley has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare 85 counties disaster areas because of drought-related crop losses. USDA Loss Assessment Reports show most of the counties in North Carolina with a 30 percent or greater loss of at least one significant crop.

"This drought is devastating our farms, which are a significant part of the North Carolina economy," Easley said. "Our farmers need our help, and this disaster assistance may make a difference whether some of them can afford to stay in business."

The state says major losses have been reported on corn, cotton, hay, pasture, peanuts, soybeans and tobacco. This as many farmers have already exhausted their winter hay supplies and are now looking for other sources of feed for cattle.

Counties is our area included in the request are:

Bertie, Chowan, Craven, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Northampton, Perquimans, Wayne, and Wilson.

If the disaster declaration is approved by USDA, it would authorize the Farm Service Agency to make low interest emergency credit loans available to eligible producers.