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USDA designates 13 counties as primary natural disaster area

Thirteen counties in Mississippi have been designated as a primary natural disaster area by United States Department of Agriculture Administrator Richard Fordyce.

Agricultural producers in Lawrence, Walthall, Jefferson Davis, Attala, Calhoun, Clarke, Coahoma, Covington, Jasper, Jones, Newton, Noxubee and Smith counties who suffered physical damage and losses in storms April 12 may be eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency emergency loans. Damages and losses came from tornadoes, high winds, excessive rainfall, lightning, flooding and flash flooding.

The natural disaster designation allows emergency credit to be extended so that those who suffered losses can meet various recovery needs, such as replacing essential equipment or livestock, reorganizing a farming operation or refinancing certain debts.

Producers in the following contiguous counties are also eligible to apply — Bolivar, Carroll, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Copiah, Forrest, Grenada, Holmes, Kemper, Lafayette, Lamar, Lauderdale, Leake, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Neshoba, Oktibbeha, Perry, Pike, Pontotoc, Quitman, Rankin, Scott, Simpson, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tunica, Wayne, Webster, Winston, Yalobusha and Yazoo.

Deadline for emergency loan applications is Jan. 4. FSA will review the applications on the basis of extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

For more information, producers can contact local USDA offices or visit www.farmers.gov/recover.