Training offered for farm operators

AGRICULTURE NOTES

October 14, 2007

Maryland Cooperative Extension offices will offer free voucher training and renewal courses for farm operators who apply nutrients to 10 or more acres of cropland.

The two-hour applicator training course is required once every three years.

Training for Cecil County will be held Oct. 30 and Jan. 22. Call 410-996-5280 to register.

Harford County training will be Nov. 1. Call 410-638-3255 to register.

Loans offered for drought damage

Two loan programs have been established - one for farmers and one for small businesses - for damage done by this year's drought.

All qualified farm operators in Harford and Cecil are eligible for loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which recently designated Harford and Cecil counties a natural disaster area because of crop losses caused by the drought. Farmers in the affected counties have eight months from the date of the declaration (Cecil, Sept. 11, and Harford Sept. 14) to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

The USDA's Farm Service Agency will take into account the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability. FSA has several programs to help eligible farmers.

Interested farmers should contact their local USDA Service Center for information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.

More information is available at: http:--disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

Also, federal disaster loans are available to Maryland small businesses. The Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is available to farm-related and nonfarm-related small business concerns and small agricultural cooperatives that suffered financial losses as a direct result of the drought.

Farmers and ranchers are not eligible to apply to SBA, but nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.

Information: 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing-impaired).

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