WAYNE COUNTY—Farmers with crops damaged in the heavy rains last season may be eligible for funding through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA).

Owners of farmland in Wayne and Lackawanna counties are eligible to apply for funding to recoup crop losses resulting from flash flooding occurring between July 2018 and February 2019.

Other eligible applicants are farms in Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties.

The available funding became available due to a Secretarial disaster declaration following the heavy rains from last year.

“This is a great thing for farmers on vulnerable properties,” stated Wayne County Commissioner Chairman Brian Smith.

Smith explained when county rivers surge as a result of heavy rains and flash floods, they dump dirt, silt and other particles on farms adjacent to or nearby the waterway.

This combined with excessive water damage can cause damage to the yield.

According to USDA data, Wayne County reported three disaster incidences starting in late July 2018, the result of continuous excessive precipitation events, floods and flash floods.

Farmers looking to recover from these disasters can apply for loans up to eight months after the declaration.

According to the FSA, farmers applying for loans through the Emergency Loan Program can borrow “up to 100 percent of actual or physical loses to a maximum amount of $500,00.”

Interest on FSA emergency loans as of September 1, 2019 is 3.75 percent.

The repayment period is typically set between one and seven years for crop, livestock and non-real estate losses. Special circumstances may allow for terms up to 20 years.

For real estate losses, the loan term is typically up to 30 years, though some cases may have a maximum of 40 years to repay.

“Pennsylvania farmers who have experienced losses from excessive rainfall can now breathe a sigh of relief thanks to this disaster designation,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding stated in a release. “I encourage those in eligible areas to apply for this funding to recoup losses ahead of the next growing season.”

Other FSA disaster assistance programs applicable for flood and excessive moisture damage include:

• Livestock Indemnity Program

• Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program

• Tree Assistance Program

• Disaster Set-Aside Program

• Emergency Conservation Program

• Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program.

More information about disaster relief and other programs is available from the Pennsylvania State Farm Service Agency office, 359 East Park Drive Suite 1, Harrisburg, PA 17111-2747, 717-237-2113.

Information is also available online at www.fsa.usda.gov.

—Information from a release was used in this story.