Johnson County has been declared an agricultural disaster area after heavy rains and flooding caused significant crop damage and losses this summer.
The county is one of 53 in Indiana included in the disaster declaration, which was approved Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Gov. Mike Pence, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and Julia A. Wickard, state executive director for Farm Service Agency, had sent a letter to the department in late July requesting a declaration be made for the affected Indiana counties.
With the declaration, area farmers will be able to apply for low-interest emergency loans to help cover losses from the weather.
In Johnson County, officials estimate a 30 percent loss of soybeans, said Brian Catt, executive director for the Farm Service Agency in Johnson County. Corn losses won’t be that high but will still be significant, Catt said.
The most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture crop report released Monday shows that 25 percent of the state’s corn and 24 percent of its soybeans are considered either poor or very poor.
The damage has been done by a summer that threatens to break records for rainfall. Greenwood recorded 24.3 inches of rain in May through July. Franklin reported 20.8 inches of rain between May 18 and July 31, according to the Midwest Regional Climate Center.
Farmers interested in applying for loans can do so at the Johnson County Farm Service Agency in Franklin.
Contact the Farm Service Agency in Franklin at 736-6822 to set up an appointment or get an application.
Loan limit: Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000.
Deadline: Applications must be received by April 12.
Current interest rate: 3.625 percent
Emergency loan funds may be used to:
- Restore or replace essential property.
- Pay all or part of production costs from this year.
- Pay essential family living expenses.
- Reorganize the farm operation.
- Refinance certain debts.
If applying for a loan, borrowers:
- Must keep acceptable farm records.
- Must operate in accordance with a farm plan they develop and agree to with local Farm Service Agency staff.
- May be required to participate in a financial management training program and obtain crop insurance.