Disaster loans will be available for farmers in Orleans

Staff Reports Posted 29 September 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Bernie Heberle, manager and co-owner of Circle R Fruit Farms in Carlton, holds a deformed apple due to a frost on Memorial Day weekend. Heberle said some of the local apple crop was harmed by the frost, with more damage the farther away from Lake Ontario. Heberle said the deformed apples taste fine, but can’t be sold on the fresh market because of their appearance.

Farmers in Orleans, Genesee, Niagara and Wyoming counties have been declared eligible for disaster emergency loan assistance, effective Sept. 9, due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain, high winds, hail, lightning and a tornado, which occurred between May 1 and July 14.

Family farmers who have suffered physical and production losses due to excessive rain, high winds, hail, lightning, and a tornado may be eligible for loans through the Farm Service Agency.

Proceeds from crop insurance and any FSA programs are taken into account when determining eligibility for physical losses, the FSA said in a news release.

Losses must be supported with documented records. Under the FSA Emergency Loan Programs, farmers may be eligible for production and physical loss loans of up to 100 percent of their actual losses, or the operating loan amount needed to continue in business, or a maximum principal balance outstanding of $500,000, whichever is less.

Farmers must be unable to obtain credit from private commercial lenders. The interest rate on emergency loans is 3.625 percent.

Application for loans under this emergency designation will be accepted until May 9, 2016. The FSA office in Albion is located at 446 West Ave. The office’s phone number is (585) 589-5320.