On Oct. 24 Ann Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture, declared a major disaster in Adams County, Idaho, based on damages and losses caused by drought that occurred from January 1, 2002, and continued throughout the year. As a result of this major disaster, and because Wallowa County is contiguous to Adams County, Wallowa County agricultural producers were declared to be eligible for Federal disaster assistance including Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency (EM) loans.

EM loans may be used to restore or replace essential property; pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year; pay essential family living expenses; reorganize the farming operation; and refinance debts.

EM loans may be made to farmers and ranchers who are established family farm operators; are citizens or permanent residents of the United States; have the ability, training or experience necessary to repay the loan; have suffered a qualifying physical loss, or production loss of at least 30 percent in any essential farm or ranch enterprise; cannot obtain commercial credit; can provide collateral to secure an EM loan; and have repayment ability.

EM loan application packets can be picked up at the Wallowa County FSA office, 209 NW First St., Enterprise. Applications for losses caused by drought must be filed by June 24, 2003. For additional information, call the local FSA office at 426-4521, ext. 2.

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