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October 21, 2016

Drought spurs USDA aid to Maine's farmers

With the U.S. Drought Monitor reporting that nearly 70% of Maine is experiencing moderate drought conditions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is putting the word out about federal programs to assist Maine's farmers and livestock producers.

"Thankfully, the 2014 Farm Bill reinstated these safety-net programs for farmers and livestock producers suffering the devastating impacts of natural disasters such as this drought," USDA Maine Farm Service Agency Executive Director Don Todd said in a news release. "Because of the Farm Bill, we as an agency can quickly respond to the recovery needs of our producers."

The USDA's Maine Farm Service Agency is offering disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to help Maine farmers and livestock producers that include:

- Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program: Provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented (failure to plant) planting occur due to natural disasters.

- Livestock Forage Disaster Program: Provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses for covered livestock on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or is planted specifically for grazing.

- Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program: Provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather or other conditions that are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs. ELAP provides assistance for losses resulting from the cost of transporting water to livestock due to an eligible drought.

- Emergency Loan Program: Available to producers with agricultural operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought.

- Emergency Conservation Program: Provides emergency funding for farmers to install water conservation measures during periods of severe drought to supply emergency water for livestock, including confined livestock and poultry and existing eligible irrigation systems serving orchards and vineyards.

- Tree Assistance Program: Provides assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers for qualifying tree, shrub and vine losses due to natural disaster.

There is some good news for Maine's farmers: According to the Associated Press, a tropical disturbance and a low pressure system will combine and bring between 1 to 2.5 inches of rain to the entire state over the weekend.

Read more

Recent showers help curb severe drought conditions

Poland Spring seeing impact from drought

Feds declare five Maine counties disaster areas

High supply and weak Canadian dollar worry Maine blueberry growers

Impact of drought minimal for central Maine’s apple crop

Drought hard on crops like broccoli

Dry conditions bring back Drought Task Force

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