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Upton: USDA Secretarial Disaster Designation provides vital assistance for farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced 43 Michigan counties as primary natural disaster areas, including Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, and 31 additional counties as contiguous disaster counties, including Kalamazoo and Van Buren.

Following excessive rain, flooding, and extreme temperatures earlier this year, Upton spearheaded a bipartisan letter urging support for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s USDA Secretarial Disaster Designation request for the state of Michigan

“This disaster designation approved by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue provides vital assistance for farmers across the Sixth District and our state as they look to rebound from a tough season,” Upton said. “When I listened to and met with folks during my farm tour in July, it was apparent our farmers and producers needed help. The extreme weather we saw earlier this year was simply devastating. I commend the USDA for approving this request and look forward to continuing to work with our ag community to address the challenges they face.”  

Earlier this year, Upton visited a number of farms in southwest Michigan to see the damage from the extreme weather firsthand and to raise awareness of the need for the disaster designation.

According to the USDA, a Secretarial disaster designation makes “farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA)…Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans.”

To read the letter from Secretary Perdue, click here.


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