Drought conditions allows farmers to apply for emergency disaster loans

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POSTED: Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 10:21am

UPDATED: Friday, February 8, 2013 - 10:19am

In the Valley, farmers and small business owners might be able to get some financial help during drought conditions as the U.S.. Department of Agriculture named Cameron County as a primary disaster area due to drought conditions.

Farmers, ranchers and small business owners can apply for a loan with an interest rate of about 2% as Cameron County Emergency Manager Humberto Barrera stated, "It's very important we support our farmers. These are the guys, day and night, rain or shine, risking and working with mother nature and trying to get water to their crops. I am grateful they are being made, hopefully someone can take advantage of that."

Following months of drought conditions affecting our area, Cameron County Judge Carlos H. Cascos received notification recently that Cameron County had been designated as a "primary natural disaster area", allowing farmers, ranchers and small businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers to apply for emergency disaster loans.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) made the announcement in January in response to a drought, which began late last year and is continuing.

"The federal announcements are welcomed news to farmers, ranchers and small business owners dependent on farmers and ranchers in Cameron County, " said County Judge Cascos. "We certainly hope that our affected residents will take advantage of these loan applicaitons."

Affected farmers and ranchers may contact the Cameron County office of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) at (956) 399-1311 Extension 2. The office is located at 2315 West Frontage Road Expressway 77/83 Suite #1 in San Benito and is open from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

Affected small businesses, which are dependeant on farmers and ranchers, may contact the SBA District Office at (956) 427-8533. The office is located at 2422 E Tyler Ave Sutie E in Harlingen and is open from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. They can also call SBA's national customer service center toll-free (800) 659-2955 or visit SBA's website at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance Hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877-8339.

Cameron County was among 157 counties, including Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy Counties, which were designated as eligible for these emergency disaster loans.

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