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Local farmers can apply for flood relief emergency loans

Farmers in Lincoln, Copiah and Franklin counties, in addition to 50 other counties, are eligible to apply for emergency USDA loans in connection with damage sustained during 2020 flooding.

The United States Department of Agriculture has designated 32 counties as the primary natural disaster area for those who suffered losses caused by excessive rain and flooding April 1 through June 30. Producers in Franklin County and the following counties may be eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency emergency loans: Adams, Alcorn, Attala, Bolivar, Calhoun, Carroll, Choctaw, Clairborne, Clay, Coahoma, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Itawamba, Jefferson, Lee, Leflore, Monroe, Montgomery, Oktibbeha, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tishomingo, Tunica, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wilkinson and Yazoo.

Farmers who qualify for the emergency loans may borrow up to 100% of their actual production loss, or the amount needed to restore their operation to its pre-disaster condition, whichever is less, or refinance certain debts. FSA will review loans based on extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

Producers in 28 contiguous counties are also eligible to apply. In addition to Lincoln and Copiah counties, these are Amite, Chickasaw, DeSoto, Grenada, Hinds, Lafayette, Leake, Lowndes, Madison, Neshoba, Noxubee, Panola, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tate, Tippah, Union, Winston and Yalobusha.

The loan application deadline is July 6, 2021.

Farmers who want to apply should visit www.Farmers.gov/recover for the phone number of their local USDA office.

For Lincoln County, that number is 601-833-9321, and callers should speak with Farm Loan Manager Lee Jefcoat.

“Call and let us send an application out,” said Farm Loan Program technician Donna Allen. “We will answer questions and help them fill out the applications on the phone or online, and when they get ready to submit the applications, we accept them at the front door.”

Turnaround time for loans is typically less than one month from the time a completed application is submitted, Allen said.