The extreme levels of rainfall last year has led the USDA to designate 14 Wisconsin counties, including Kewaunee County, as primary natural disaster areas, qualifying local farmers for emergency loans.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday (Feb. 12) announced that Brown, Calumet, Door, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Oconto, Outagamie, Price, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, and Winnebago received the designation.

Producers in those counties who suffered losses due to continuous rainfall and excessive moisture that occurred between Jan. 1 and Aug. 15, 2019, may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

The loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Producers in the contiguous Wisconsin counties are also eligible to apply for emergency loans – Ashland, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Iron, Jefferson, Langlade, Lincoln, Marinette, Menominee, Oneida, Ozaukee, Rock, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Taylor, Vilas, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, and Waushara, along with Boone, Lake, and McHenry counties in Illinois, and Delta County in Michigan.

The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is Oct. 5, 2020.

FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Operating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program.

Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at farmers.gov/recover.