Hawaii County designated primary natural disaster area due to Iselle

Courtesy: Hawaii Papaya Industry Association

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Hawaii County as a primary natural disaster area due damages and losses caused by Iselle.

From August 7-9, 2014, the storm brought wind, rain and flooding, causing serious damage to the island.

“Our hearts go out to those Hawaii 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 Hawaii producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

Hawaii County was designated a natural disaster area on September 3, 2014, 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.

“Many farmers in Puna are still recovering after suffering devastating crop loss due to Tropical Storm Iselle and they need our help,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said.

“In the wake of the denial of a Presidential Disaster Declaration, it is critical that we find alternate sources of support, such as this U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

Farmers in Hawaii County 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.

Producers are encouraged to contact the Hawaii County Office at (808) 933-8368 to make an appointment to avoid long wait times for service.

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