Swain and Jackson Counties Have Been Designated Primary Natural Disaster Areas

— Written By and last updated by Kerri Rayburn

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Swain and Jackson Counties in North Carolina as primary natural disaster area due to losses caused by recent drought. In addition to the designation, the Fast Track drought monitor has triggered the Livestock Forage Program and ALL livestock producers (including but not limited to swine and poultry producers) in Swain and Jackson Counties should contact their local FSA office at 828-488-2684 ext.2 or by visiting the office at 50 Main St., Federal Building, Room 220, Bryson City, NC Wednesday thru Friday to apply for assistance on grazing losses. Producers in Swain County will need to bring sale and/or slaughter bills for livestock weighing 500 lbs or more that was sold or slaughtered on or after September 1, 2016 for those to be counted in the inventory. Producers in Jackson will need sale and/or slaughter bills for livestock weighing 500 lbs. or more that was sold or slaughtered on or after August 18th for those to be counted in the inventory. These dates are set to meet the owned 60 day prior to disaster start event date policy set by the drought monitors. Those start dates are as follows; Swain County November 11th and Jackson County October 18th. Producers have until January 30th 2017 to apply.

Producers that have lost live stock due to the recent fires need to contact their local Farm Service Agency Office immediately to apply for the LIP (Livestock Indemnity Program).

“Our hearts go out to our North Carolina farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said County Executive Director, Becky Williamson.

Farmers and ranchers in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, and Macon counties in North Carolina also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program; and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

FSA news releases are available on FSA’s website at www.fsa.usda.gov via the “Newsroom” link.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).