The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 85 counties as disaster areas due to the ongoing drought in North Carolina.
The declaration makes low interest Emergency Disaster Loans available to farmers who cannot get credit elsewhere. Last month the governor asked for the disaster declaration due to major losses in crops including corn, cotton, hay, pasture, peanuts, soybeans and tobacco.
In our region, the counties include: Bertie, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Hertford, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Onslow, Pender and Wayne.
USDA Loss Assessment Reports show 85 counties with a 30 percent or greater loss of at least one significant crop. Many farmers have already exhausted their winter hay supplies and have had to find other sources of feed for cattle.
Eligible farmers can apply for the loans from the Farm Service Agency. The deadline for applying for the loans is May 12, 2008. Farmers should contact the Farm Service Agency office in their county for more information.