USDA Designates 3 Counties in Florida as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has distributed the following bulletin regarding insufficient chill hours in parts of Florida last winter.  It is interesting to speculate if this might be part of the “unmentionable” climate change.

Again we see the special treatment awarded agriculture, based on a centuries-old tradition of our being an agricultural nation.  The fact that we point his out is not  totally a criticism, rather an explanation of perhaps why the concept of public interest is misinterpreted by judges and those empowered to make decisions which may favor one individual grower over the many individuals comprising the “public.”

For example, during the summer months, had there been unseasonably cold weather, would a water park owner be subsidized by the government?  A judge may say no, because the citrus grower’s product was needed by the public, and the water park manager’s not, ignoring the fact that the public may still buy oranges from California or Chile during the period.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-

USDA Designates 3 Counties in Florida as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

by Randall – November 3rd, 2016

From the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Alachua, Flagler and Putnam counties in Florida as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by insufficient chill hours that occurred from Nov. 1, 2015, through March 31, 2016.

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Florida also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

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Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion, St. Johns, Union and Volusia.

“Our hearts go out to those Florida 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 Florida producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Nov. 2, 2016, 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 counties 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.

Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; 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

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