Drought Assistance for Farmers Sources Of Grants, Loans And Other Assistance

When drought conditions take their toll on farmers, government programs and lenders can make the difference. Some, such as the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, offer feed-grain programs, while others offer grants and loans.

While there admittedly will be some paperwork involved, your efforts will pay off with higher benefits if you apply for a variety of programs early on. Your county Extension office can help determine programs for which you are most qualified. As for your local lenders, start negotiating about potential needs-such as money to buy feed-before drought conditions peak. That way you are not managing in a panic mode and neither are lenders.

  • Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) Federal Farm Disaster Assistance. ASCS offers disaster payments and livestock feed assistance for drought-stressed farmers. If you don't plant any of your crop, you may be eligible for the 0/92 program which provides deficiency payments on 92 percent of a producer's base acreage.
  • Farmer's Home Administration. FHA offers disaster loans at low interest with affordable repayment terms. It also offers conventional guaranteed loans with low interest rates.
  • Farm Credit Services. This farmer-owned credit cooperative offers competitive loans to farmers.
  • Commercial banks. Competitive loans are available to farmers.
  • WHEDA-CROP, also known as the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority-Credit Relief Outreach Program. This state program offers farmers low-interest loans originating from banks but guaranteed by WHEDA. See your local lender.

See your county Extension office about your options for assistance and the enrollment process. In some cases, Extension agents can use a computerized farm assistance program to quickly determine what programs you are most eligible for.

You may need the following items to apply for a grant, loan or other assistance.

  • An itemized list of losses with your estimate of the repair or replacement cost of each item
  • Copies of federal income tax returns from the last three years
  • Insurance policy
  • A brief history of your farm and ASCS information on farm crop base and assigned yields
  • Personal and business financial statements (income statement and balance sheet), list of bills owed
  • Loan repayment schedule

Additional resources:

Your county Extension office

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