USDA Designates 29 Counties in South Carolina as Primary Natural Disaster Area with Assistance to Producers in Surrounding States

10/28/2015 03:42 PM EDT

USDA Designates 29 Counties in South Carolina as Primary Natural Disaster Area with Assistance to Producers in Surrounding States

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 29 counties in South Carolina as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain and flooding that occurred from Oct. 1, 2015, and continues. Those counties are:

Aiken Colleton Georgetown Marion
Allendale Darlington Horry Newberry
Bamberg Dillon Kershaw Orangeburg
Barnwell Dorchester Lancaster Richland
Berkeley Edgefield Laurens Saluda
Calhoun Fairfield Lee Sumter
Chester Florence Lexington Williamsburg
Clarendon

“Our hearts go out to those South Carolina farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling South Carolina producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in South Carolina also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

Abbeville
Chesterfield
Hampton
Spartanburg
Anderson
Greenville
McCormick
Union
Beaufort
Greenwood
Marlboro
York
Charleston

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Georgia and North Carolina also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

Georgia
Burke, Columbia, Richmond and Screven

North Carolina
Brunswick, Columbus, Mecklenburg, Robeson and Union

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Oct. 28, 2015, 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.

Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, The Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the 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 and employer. 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).