North Carolina farmers hurt by Hurricane Irene last August and by tornadoes in April can now get more help from the federal government with more loan options and payments to recover from crop losses.
State officials announced that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared 35 eastern counties disaster areas from the pair of storms.
The designation means farmers and surrounding counties that perhaps didn’t qualify for previous disaster loans can seek them under another program. They can also apply for direct payments to help with significant uninsured crop losses.
Perdue said her administration had been aggressive in trying to secure as much aid as possible for farmers.
“We owe it to them to do everything we can to help them recover from these devastating losses and be ready for this year’s growing season,” she said in a news release.
State officials have said crop, forestry and agricultural equipment losses during Hurricane Irene could exceed $500 million.
Perdue spokesman Mark Johnson said the loans and payments allowed under the disaster declaration, combined with other potential federal funding, will affect what type of aid the state may provide to farmers.
“This latest assistance that Gov. Perdue requested is an important piece of our overall response to damage from the storms,” Johnson wrote in an email. The General Assembly could be asked to fund any additional aid for other unmet needs.
Farmers have until Sept. 12 to apply for financial assistance for crop losses, Perdue’s office said
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