Drought loans available to South Texas agricultural producers

EDINBURG – Agricultural producers who suffered drought losses in 2013 are urged to apply for disaster emergency loans as soon as possible, said a Prairie View A&M University-Extension agent and farm adviser for Hidalgo County.

“Producers who have lost at least 30 percent of their production or suffered production losses caused by drought between April 1, 2013 and Oct. 31, 2013, are eligible for emergency loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency,” said Vidal Saenz, who manages the Small Farm Outreach Training and Technical Assistance Program, administered by the Cooperative Extension Program at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas.

Vidal Saenz discusses farm operations with Catarina and Teofilo Flores Jr. in Edinburg. Saenz can help South Texas agricultural producers apply for direct emergency loans for farmers and ranchers who suffered drought losses in 2013. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

Vidal Saenz (left) discusses farm operations with Catarina and Teofilo Flores Jr. in Edinburg. Saenz can help South Texas agricultural producers apply for direct emergency loans for drought losses suffered in 2013. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

“Farmers or ranchers can contact me in Edinburg for assistance in applying for these loans,” Saenz said.

Saenz has been helping farmers apply for loans since 1994, processing more than 700 loan applications totalling nearly $100 million.

The maximum amount of direct emergency loans can be equal to the losses, minus proceeds from crop insurance and/or hazard insurance, Saenz said.

Producers in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy and Zapata counties are eligible for the loans.

Arnulfo Lerma, FSA farm loan manager in Edinburg, urges producers to submit their applications as soon as possible.

“We hope farmers will get their applications in early rather than waiting until near the deadline, which is Dec. 23,” he said. “The longer they wait, the more chance there is for long delays. If the applications come in early, we can avoid backlogs and speed up the process.”

For more information, or to set up an appointment for assistance in applying for a loan, contact Saenz at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office at 956-383-1026.

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