Drought Relief Available to Whatcom county farmers


USDA Designates 18 Counties in Washington as Primary Natural Disaster Areas With Assistance to Producers in Surrounding States

Latawnya Dia



WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 18 counties in Washington as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought. Those counties are:


Asotin                   Kitsap              Skagit

Chelan                   Lewis              Skamania

Douglas                 Lincoln            Snohomish

Grays Harbor         Mason             Thurston

Jefferson              Pacific             Whatcom

King                      Pierce              Whitman


“Our hearts go out to those Washington farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling Washington producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”


Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Washington also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.  Those counties are:


Adams                Ferry                  Island               Spokane

Clallam                Franklin             Kittitas             Stevens

Clark                   Garfield             Klickitat            Wahkiakum

Columbia            Grant                 Okanogan         Yakima



Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Idaho and Oregon also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:



Benewah, Latah and Nez Perce



Hood River, Multnomah and Wallowa


All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Aug. 5, 2015, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.


Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, The Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at


FSA news releases are available on FSA’s website at via the “Newsroom” link.


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to Washington Small Businesses


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Small, nonfarm businesses in 12 Washington counties and neighboring counties in Idaho are now eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought in the following primary counties that began May 19, 2015, announced Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center - West.


Primary Washington counties:  Ferry, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane and Stevens;

Neighboring Washington counties:  Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Lincoln, Skagit, Whatcom and Whitman;

Neighboring Idaho counties:  Benewah, Bonner, Boundary and Kootenai.


“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Garfield said.


Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.


“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for businesses and 2.625 percent 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 adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.


By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster on July 15, 2015.


Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance in drought disasters.


Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at


Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit


The deadline to apply for these loans is March 15, 2016.