USDA Designates 43 Municipalities in Puerto Rico as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

11/12/2015 02:25 PM EST

USDA Designates 43 Municipalities in Puerto Rico as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 43 municipalities in Puerto Rico as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by high winds from Tropical Storm Erika that occurred from Aug. 27-28, 2015. Those municipalities are:

Adjuntas Coamo Juncos Salinas
Aguas Buenas Comerio Las Piedras San Juan
Aibonito Culebra Loiza San Lorenzo
Arroyo Fajardo Luquillo Santa Isabel
Barranquitas Guayama Maunabo Trujillo Alto
Caguas Guayanilla Naguabo Utuado
Canovanas Guaynabo Orocovis Vieques
Carolina Gurabo Patillas Villalba
Cayey Humacao Peñuelas Yabucoa
Ceiba Jayuya Ponce Yauco
Cidra Juana Diaz Río Grande

“Our hearts go out to those Puerto Rico 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 Puerto Rico 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 municipalities in Puerto Rico also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their municipalities are contiguous. Those municipalities are:

Arecibo Corozal Maricao
Bayamón Guánica Morovis
Cataño Hatillo Naranjito
Ciales Lares Sabana Grande

All municipalities listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Nov. 12, 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 municipalities 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).