COLUMBUS - State Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) issued the following statement today in response to the declaration issued by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, which assigns Ashtabula and Geauga counties as primary disaster designation areas following damages inflicted from a tornado, excessive rain, flooding, high winds and lightning that occurred November 5, 2017:
"News of the USDA disaster designation should ease some of the anxieties area farmers experienced after a tornado had a devastating impact on their land late last year. This assistance will alleviate financial uncertainty and help to ensure that farmers in Ashtabula and Geauga counties are able to cope with this unfortunate event. I commend Secretary Perdue for making this declaration a priority for his administration so our local farmers can begin to recover from these damages."
A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties as well as those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Services Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. Assistance includes FSA emergency loans.
Farmers in eligible counties will have 8 months from the date of the Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator.
The declaration assigns Ashtabula and Geauga counties in Ohio as primary disaster designation areas. Farmers in Cuyahoga, Lake, Portage and Trumbull counties are also named as contiguous disaster counties.
Click here to read the declaration letter from Secretary Perdue to Ohio Governor John Kasich, received February 16, 2018.