Parish farmers get disaster aid

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 30, 2005

FERRIDAY &8212; Farmers in Concordia, Catahoula and Tensas Parish &8212; and 17 others in central and northeast Louisiana &8212;

are eligible for a little help from Uncle Sam.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns declared 40 parishes in Louisiana disaster areas where farmers are eligible to apply for low-interest loans.

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The parishes, which comprise about two-thirds of the state, have been declared disaster areas by the USDA after the department reviewed information about the amount of product losses suffered by farmers.

Concordia Parish FSA Executive Director Kevin Case said emergency loans are the only form of aid available for local farmers at this time.

&8220;Other benefits may come at a later time once Congress sorts things out, but the loans are the only thing we have right now,&8221; Case said.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, said he was pleased the USDA had declared the disaster area in Louisiana.

&8220;I know the farmers in the Fifth District have suffered two hurricanes, a drought and tremendous crop losses,&8221; Alexander said. &8220;This news will be well received during what most farmers consider a bad farming year.&8221;

Farmers seeking assistance must go through their local Farm Service Agency office.