USDA designates 11 parishes as disaster areas

Staff Report

Agricultural producers in 11 parishes who suffered losses due to excessive rains that occurred from June 1 through Nov. 2 may be eligible for assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA).

According to a news release, many areas of the state, including Louisiana’s greatest row crop-producing parishes, suffered 18 or more inches of rain within just a few days. The downpour was followed by cloudy, humid, stagnant days resulting in an increase in crop disease and further degradation. The combination conditions may result in total crop loss for some Louisiana farmers.

The disaster designation, which was announced in a letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack dated Dec. 20 includes the following primary parishes, as well as another 30 contiguous parishes and counties in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi:

Primary parishes: Ascension, Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Cameron, Franklin, Iberville, Madison, St. James, Tensas, Vermilion, and West Baton Rouge.

Contiguous parishes: Acadia, Assumption, Beauregard, Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, LaSalle, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Richland, St. John the Baptist, Landry, Martin, and West Feliciana.

Contiguous counties in adjacent states: Mississippi: Adams, Claiborne, Jefferson, and Warren; Texas: Jefferson, Newton, and Orange.

“In Louisiana, the weather is always challenging for agricultural producers, and this year is no different. In the height of harvest for soybeans, rice, corn, grain sorghum, and cotton, most of our state experienced extreme weather systems, with excessive rain over a short period of time, severely diminishing production in prime agricultural areas,” stated LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “This emergency declaration acknowledges those losses and opens the door for producers to access the resources they need to begin recovering from these weather challenges.”

Farmers have eight months from the date of the designation to apply for these emergency loans. Producers can contact their location FSA office for further information regarding eligibility requirements and application procedures.