Federal Disaster Assistance Agriculture

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Sponsored by: County Administrative Office

Federal Loans Available to Eligible Businesses, Farmers and Others Affected by Extreme June Heat Wave

 

Hillsboro, Oregon – Federal disaster assistance is available for Washington County businesses, farm-owners and growers who were impacted economically by the recent record-breaking high temperatures. 

The extreme heat wave that occurred from June 26 to 28 broke records across Oregon, resulting in loss of life and severe damage to the agriculture sector—impacting many communities such as farmers, growers, farmworkers, packers and distributors, retailers and small businesses that depend on crops.

The heat wave had a major impact on Washington County's agricultural sector, particularly on berry farmers and growers with many experiencing up to an 80% crop loss.

The livelihood of farmworkers has also been impacted by the recent extreme temperatures. Many farmworkers are low-wage migrant laborers with poor access to adequate and affordable housing, healthcare, education and services. Undocumented farmworkers face even more challenges as interactions with service providers can create a deportation risk. Washington County staff members are reaching out through trusted community partners who understand the situation from a farmworker perspective.

“The dangerous heat wave impacts lives and our ongoing drought can have serious consequences for Washington County farms and the many diverse members of our community that rely on those farms. We encourage producers and the other organizations that depend on farming to report their losses and get help where they can” says John Wheeler, the county’s emergency manager.

Federal agencies are offering these disaster assistance programs:

  • The Emergency Loan Program can provide loans up to $500,000 at a 2.875% interest rate. Farmers must have at least a 30% production loss of at least one crop to be eligible. This program requires a disaster declaration by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Washington County was recently included in an agricultural disaster declaration because of the ongoing drought. Impacted farmers are strongly encouraged to contact the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office at (503) 648-3174 to report losses and to inquire about disaster assistance.
  • The FSA Tree Assistance Program can provide a federal share of the cost of replacement or rehabilitation of destroyed or damaged plants. This requires a 15% unpreventable loss of a stand of trees, bushes, and vines due to natural disaster. This program can pay for at least 65% of the cost of replanting 50% of the cost of rehabilitation. No disaster declaration is required. More information is available online at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/tree-assistance-program/index.
  • The Small Business Association (SBA) has made available its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) to small non-farm businesses that depend on impacted farms as a result of the agricultural disaster declaration. These loans have a 2.88% interest rate for businesses and 2% for private nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the impacts without hardship. Small nonfarm businesses, agricultural cooperatives, businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. To apply online visit https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ or call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

 

Media Contact:

Silvia Pereida, Public Affairs and Communications Coordinator
503-307-0932
Silvia_Pereida@co.washington.or.us