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East Texas farmers could be eligible for emergency loans | Local

Farmers in Gregg County and other area counties may be eligible for emergency loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for growers recovering from a natural disaster.

USDA is considering loans for producers in 23 drought-hit Texas counties, including Gregg, Camp, Hopkins, Titus, Wood, Franklin, Knox, Upshur, Baylor, Harrison, Marion, Smith, Delta, Haskell, Morris, Stonewall, Foard, Hunt, Rains, Throckmorton, King, Red River and Van Zandt.

“According to the US Drought Monitor, these counties suffered a growing season drought intensity value of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme or D4 Drought-Exceptional .” the USDA said in a statement.

A D1 USDA drought classification describes droughts with abnormally dry conditions with short-term drought and “persistent water deficits,” according to the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Droughts classified as D3 or D4 usually show signs of severe to widespread crop losses and water shortages or emergencies.

Emergency loans can be used to meet a variety of recovery needs, including replacing critical items such as equipment or livestock, reorganizing a farm operation, or refinancing certain debts. The FSA will review loans based on the extent of losses, available security and ability to repay. the statement said.

Growers can apply for the USDA emergency loan through the department’s website at www.farmers.gov/protection-recovery/disaster-tool. Farmers can also find more information about emergency loans by contacting a USDA Service Center, which may be located at www.farmers.gov/working-with-us/service-center-locator.