Emergency loans authorized for farmers’ snow losses

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Oconto among 52 counties included in declaration

Times Herald Staff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering emergency loans for farmers in 52 counties, including Oconto County, to help with losses sustained in the mid-April blizzard.

The storm dropped up to 30 inches of snow April 13-15 over a large swath of the state, caving in barn roofs and forcing farmers to dispose of milk when trucks couldn’t get through, among other hardships.

“Wisconsin’s farmers are a key part of our state’s economy, our history and our future,” Gov. Scott Walker said, in announcing the availability of the USDA loans. “We are always listening to the needs of our farmers and look forward to working with them in the future to support our farming industry.”

The disaster designation by the Farm Service Agency administrator means that low-interest emergency loans are available to farmers who had severe physical losses from snow and high winds during the storm. Twenty-three counties are included in the disaster designation, including Oconto as well as Barron, Brown, Burnett, Door, Dunn, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jackson, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Marinette, Monroe, Outagamie, Polk, Portage, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Trempealeau, Washburn, Waupaca and Wood.

In addition, eligible farmers in counties bordering the disaster counties may also receive loans: Adams, Ashland, Bayfield, Buffalo, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Dodge, Douglas, Eau Claire, Florence, Forest, Juneau, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Menominee, Pepin, Pierce, Price, St. Croix, Sheboygan, Taylor, Vernon, Washington, Waushara and Winnebago.

Farmers have eight months to apply for the loans. Farmers should contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency office for information on loan eligibility and the application process.