Farmers added to state 'help' list as recovery from Irene continues
By From staff reports
Published in News on September 13, 2011 1:46 PM
Wayne County farmers who suffered close to $22 million in crop losses, mostly to the county's tobacco crop, because of Hurricane Irene are now eligible for Farm Service Agency emergency loan assistance.
Gov. Beverly Perdue announced over the weekend that disaster assistance had been secured for farmers in 42 counties and that nine additional counties, including Wayne, are eligible for federal disaster assistance for losses associated with Irene.
Farm Service Agency offices in the affected counties are taking applications through May 3, 2012, for physical and production losses caused by Hurricane Irene, which occurred Aug. 25 to Sept. 1.
The Wayne County Farm Service office is located at 209 W. Spruce St.
Perdue has also requested an expedited disaster declaration by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who toured crop damage with her last week. Such a declaration would allow for additional assistance for uninsured crops and restoration of damaged farmland.
The counties designated for Farm Service Agency assistance are: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gates, Granville, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Roberson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Wayne and Wilson.
State and federal assessment efforts continue and more counties could be added.
Tobacco losses in the county are estimated at $19 million and at $2 million for cotton. Irene's winds mangled an already-drought-stricken corn crop, making it more difficult to harvest and could result in a loss of almost $1 million.
Soybeans, sweet potatoes and peanuts appear to have escaped damage, Wayne County Extension Director Kevin Johnson said.
The federal disaster assistance designation means that families and business owners in Wayne can now seek low-interest loans or grants to help them recover from Irene. Wayne and Pender will be added to the federal disaster declaration that Gov. Perdue requested and which was approved by President Barack Obama.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides two types of assistance -- individual assistance aids families and businesses, while public assistance helps local governments with community recovery costs, such as clearing debris and repairing public facilities.
Seven additional counties are now eligible for public assistance: Gates, Hertford, Johnston, Northampton, Sampson, Warren and Washington. Those counties can now seek aid covering the costs of storm response, debris removal and infrastructure repairs.
The counties previously approved for public assistance are: Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Car-teret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, Wayne and Wilson.
Thus far 35 counties have been approved for individual assistance, and 36 counties have been approved for public assistance.
The counties previously approved for individual assistance are: Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, Vance, Warren, Washington and Wilson.