Bulletin Staff Report

Applications from residents of Brown County who have suffered agricultural and physical losses from severe fires and high winds since the beginning of the year are eligible to apply for emergency farm loans under a recent disaster proclamation.

Cynthia P. Kruger, farm loan manager with the Farm Service Agency office in Stephenville, said Tuesday that applications are being accepted at the Farm Service Agency Office at 2608-C U.S. Highway 377 South, Brownwood. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The deadline for applying is Jan. 15, 2009.

The U.S. secretary of agriculture said residents of Brown County live in one of numerous Texas counties declared eligible for loans to cover part of actual production losses, resulting from listed designations.

Kruger said farmers may be eligible for loans up to 100 percent of their actual losses or the operating loan needed to continue in business, whichever is less. For farmers unable to obtain credit from private commercial lenders, the interest rate is 3.75 percent.

“As a general rule, a farmer must have suffered at least 30 percent loss of production to be eligible for a FSA emergency loan,” Kruger said. Farmers participating in the Federal Crop Insurance Program will have to consider proceeds from those programs in determining their loss.

“Applications for loans under these emergency designations will be accepted until the designated final date, but farmers should apply as soon as possible. Delays in applying could create backlogs in processing with possible delays into the new farming season,” Kruger said.

The Farm Service Agency, a credit agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is authorized to provide disaster emergency loans to recognized farmers who work at and rely on farming for a substantial part of their living. Eligibility is extended to individual farmers who meet U.S. citizenship requirements and to farming partnerships, corporations or cooperatives in which U.S. citizenship requirements are met by individual holding a majority interest.