on Monday, November 18, 2019
By Michigan Farm News
In what arguably could be the best-kept secret in Michigan agriculture, USDA formally approved 43 Michigan counties as “primary” natural disaster areas, due to losses caused by excessive rain, flooding, flash flooding, and abnormally cold temperatures that occurred since March 1 and continued through fall harvest.
An additional 31 designated “contiguous” counties — those that border the 43 primary counties —also qualified for disaster designation, making a total of 74 counties in the state eligible for disaster assistance from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.
According to a letter dated Oct. 31, 2019, from USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the disaster assistance will consist of FSA emergency loans.
“Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans,” Perdue said in the letter. “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.”
USDA reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports submitted Sept. 17 by Michigan’s FSA Executive Director originally requesting primary disaster designation for 62 Michigan counties.
According to Perdue’s letter, USDA was unable to make a complete and accurate determination of production losses for 17 counties at this time.
“Therefore, a decision to designate those counties as primary disaster areas will be deferred,” Perdue wrote, including Arenac, Barry, Bay, Branch, Clare, Gladwin, Ionia, Lake, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Tuscola, Van Buren, and Wexford Counties
Disaster Designations for Michigan
Michigan Primary Counties (43):
Michigan Contiguous Counties (31):
Calhoun Clare Crawford Gladwin
Jackson Kalamazoo Kent