Farmers Get Drought Aid

August 14, 1991

Farmers in Carroll County who lose at least 30 percent of their crops to the drought can apply for federal low-interest loans and emergency hay and grazing privileges. The relief became available Monday as the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 18 Maryland counties eligible for drought aid.

The designation names as disaster areas Allegany, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Prince George's, St. Mary's and Washington counties. Farmers in 10 adjacent counties also may qualify for emergency loan assistance.

Farmers seeking the 4.5 percent interest loans, which can be usedfor operating or living expenses, must apply to the Farmers Home Administration office in their areas by April 9, 1992. Loans of up to $500,000 are available. The FHA determines eligibility on the basis of average crop yields for the past five years. Carroll farmers must call the Frederick County office, at (301) 663-5461, for applications.

To apply for emergency hay and grazing privileges on land federal officials pay farmers to leave uncultivated, farmers must contact the Maryland Agricultural Stabilization Conservation Service office at 848-2780.

State officials plan to apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for emergency feed aid, said Carol Wathen, program specialist at the state ASCS office. Under that program, farmers would be eligible for half of their feed costs.

The action came in response toa request made by Gov. William Donald Schaefer several weeks ago, after field surveys showed that in some counties between 50 percent and60 percent of Maryland's corn and soybean crops had fallen victim tothe hot and dry weather.

David Greene, a Carroll County Extensionagent, said this year's drought is the worst he can remember since coming to Carroll in 1972. He said on many farms the corn yields will be between 40 and 50 bushels per acre, hardly enough to offset the cost of harvesting.

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