East Texas farmers may seek relief from USDA loan program

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Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 6:35 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2022 at 6:49 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas farmers who suffered losses during the tumultuous weather year of 2021 have a chance to recover some of their losses through a government loan program.

From a snowstorm in February to torrential rains in Spring to the blistering heat of summer, farmers were hit with a barrage of weather that cut their yield dramatically.

“We had a disaster declaration number one for the freeze and the snow. We then had a second disaster declaration for the excessive spring rainfall. Then we had a disaster declaration for drought and excessive temperatures and heat,” said USDA Farm Service Agency farm loan chief Roel Garza.

Twenty-three Texas counties are under the umbrella of USDA loans to offset the effects of drought, among other weather factors.

“The loans are intended to recover losses due to natural disasters. The emergency loan has a $500,000 limit. It is meant to get a producer back to where that operation was prior to the disaster occurring,” Garza said.

The emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including replacement of equipment or livestock, reorganization of farming operations or the refinance of certain debts.

“The loan would be for those producers who have suffered 30 percent of their crop or livestock. Because a disaster declaration is declared, doesn’t mean everyone in the county would be eligible,” Garza said.

Farm Service Agencies will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability.

Producers can apply for the loan through the USDA’s website.

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