Applications for emergency farm loans for damages and losses caused by Drought (fast track) that occurred October 8, 2019 and continuing are being accepted at the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office located in Alice, Christina Escobedo said.

Bee, Duval, Jim Wells, Live Oak, Refugio and San Patricio are six counties in Texas recently named by the Secretary of Agriculture to be eligible for emergency loans to production and physical losses resulting from drought (fast track) that occurred October 8, 2019 and continuing.

Escobedo said farmers may be eligible for loans of up to 100 percent of their actual losses or the operating loan needed to continue the agricultural business, whichever is less. For farmers unable to obtain credit from private commercial lenders, the interest rate is 3.625 percent.

“As a general rule, a farmer must have suffered at least a 30 percent loss of production to be eligible for a FSA emergency loan,” Escobedo said.

Farmers participating in the Federal Crop Insurance program will have to consider proceeds from those programs in determining their loss.

“Applications for loans under this emergency designation will be accepted until Sept. 8, 2020, but farmers should apply as soon as possible. Delays in applying could create backlogs in processing, with possible delays into the new farming season,”Escobedo said.

FSA is a credit agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is authorized to provide disaster emergency loans to recognized farmers who work at and rely on farming for a substantial part of their living. Eligibility is extended to individual farmers who meet U.S. citizenship requirements and to farming partnerships, corporations, or cooperatives in which U.S. citizenship requirements are met by individuals holding a majority interest.

The FSA office in Alice is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.