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USDA designates Centre County as drought disaster area

Centre County has been designated as a drought disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additional help is available to farmers after a summer of hot and dry weather “devastated crops across the commonwealth,” according to a press release from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Centre County has been designated as a drought disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additional help is available to farmers after a summer of hot and dry weather “devastated crops across the commonwealth,” according to a press release from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Centre Daily Times, file

Centre County has been designated as a drought disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Additional help is available to farmers after a summer of hot and dry weather “devastated crops across the commonwealth,” according to a press release from the state Department of Agriculture.

Cameron, Centre, Clearfield and Elk counties have been added to the list of counties recognized for “severe drought lasting eight or more weeks, extreme drought or exceptional drought conditions,” according to the release.

The disaster designation, according to the release, means that farm operators can be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency, assuming eligibility requirements are met.

Farmers have eight months to apply for emergency loans, according to the release. FSA takes into consideration the extent of production losses and the security and repayment ability of the operator.

“Agriculture is always a partnership between farmers and Mother Nature, but many farms suffered tremendous drought-related crop loss this summer. We encourage affected farmers to work with the Farm Service Agency service centers in their communities,” state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in the release.

Almost half of Pennsylvania’s counties are designated as drought disaster areas.

In August, the state Department of Environmental Protection placed Centre and 33 other counties under a drought watch.

The watch was a response to “low stream flows, declining groundwater levels and below-normal precipitation,” as previously reported. Dry conditions contributed to a rainfall deficit of up to 6 inches during May, June and July.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619; @SarahRafacz

Resources

Clinton-Centre County Farm Service Agency

Location: 216 Spring Run Road, Mill Hall

Phone: 570-726-3196 ext. 2

Contacts: Executive Director Daniel Smeal — daniel.smeal@pa.usda.gov; Farm Loan Manager Gary Gene Dauberman — gary.dauberman@pa.usda.gov

FSA Disaster Assistance

▪ http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/disaster_assistance_program.pdf

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