Local News

USDA Declares Disaster in 85 N.C. Counties

Posted September 14, 2007

— The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday declared 85 North Carolina counties disaster areas because of the ongoing drought.

The disaster declaration makes low-interest Emergency Disaster Loans available to farmers who can't get credit elsewhere. Under USDA rules, farmers in the 11 counties that neighbor those in the disaster area also are eligible for assistance.

“The drought this summer, coming on top of the Easter freeze and the windstorm last spring, has devastated many farms across the state," Gov. Mike Easley said in a statement. "This declaration is a good first step that will provide financial assistance for eligible farmers to help them recover some of their losses and get ready for the next growing season. Our farmers need all the help they can get.”

Federal agriculture reports show 85 counties with a 30 percent or greater loss of at least one significant crop. Many farmers have already exhausted their winter hay supplies and have had to find other sources of feed for cattle.

The state Drought Management Advisory Council issued a report Thursday showing that 98 of North Carolina's 100 counties were in severe, extreme or exceptional drought. Officials have said the region needs about two feet of rain in the coming months to escape the drought.

The counties in the disaster area are as follows:

Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Avery, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Cherokee, Chowan, Clay, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Graham, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Hertford, Hoke, Iredell, Jackson, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir and Lincoln.

Also, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, Northampton, Orange, Perquimans, Person, Polk, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Vance, Wake, Warren, Watauga, Wayne, Wilkes, Wilson, Yadkin and Yancey.

The 11 neighboring counties eligible for assistance are Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Martin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Pitt and Washington.

The deadline for applying for loans from the Farm Service Agency is May 12, 2008.


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  • gassy1 Sep 15, 2007

    how do you find out aboutthe low interest loans?

  • Steve Crisp Sep 15, 2007

    To skeptic:

    First, I must apologize for the discussion earlier. Not to you, but to anyone who may have been reading the dialogue. In the pressure of the evening and the storms, I failed to see that you are a xenophobic isolationist with socialist tendencies. Had I become aware or that sooner, I could have summarily dismissed you and saved everyone's time.

    But I must congratulate you on your first day of GOLO. In the two months since this forum has been created, I don't believe I have seen anyone establish themselves as the King of red herrings and straw men as quickly as you have. Simply stunning achievement and I applaud you.

    However, in an indulgement I find more humorous than anything else, I will let you dig your own rhetorical grave. Let's begin.

    How are the economics of domestic small farm operation different than any other comparably-sized business in any other industry?

  • Skepticghoul Sep 14, 2007

    He is very verbose, to be sure. However, his argument is based on the "Will of the Free Market" rhetoric subscribed to by conservatives and libertarians. That is a biased argument. It ignores points of secure infrastructure of a nation and sacrifices national self sufficiency for unrestrained profit. I'm not arguing by appealing to tradition. Yes, times change. We cannot remain a primary agrarian nation as it was 100 years ago simply because farming has changed. Technology has made farming more efficient. However, comparing farming to a store front is very poor reasoning. Farming must deal with capricious variables that cannot be controlled by insurance and planning as with other businesses.

  • likemenow Sep 14, 2007

    Crisp is harsh to some, right-on to others and as well serves as an indicator that the traditional, small-time farmers are very short-lived....which is unfortunate for those farmers but the by-product of change and economics...why is that large-scale hog farmers have succeded where small ones have disappeared?..simple economics....same thing applies for dairy and other types of farmers.....it's also the same reason why small computer companies are overrun by big ones..sentimentality and tradition bow to simple economics every time...eventually...think about small, traditional stores vs. Lowes or Home Depot or Walmart.....guess where most of the remaining small farmers go to buy supplies for their home and farm?

  • Skepticghoul Sep 14, 2007


  • Skepticghoul Sep 14, 2007

    Moving goalposts! I'm not talking about any business; I am addressing only farming.

  • Steve Crisp Sep 14, 2007

    Yes I'm tense. Cause now is the time I bail outta here to tend to my business. Things are getting serious out there. Telco does not like lightning. I have to oversee router switching, power integrity, climate control, and DNS rerouting if necessary. I may have to initiate lighting dark fiber as a backup, something I really don't like to do since it adds expense if not ultimately needed, But I have it anyway since it is prudent business practice. :)

    Time to go into my emergency mode.

  • Steve Crisp Sep 14, 2007

    I'm gonna try one last thing here.

    Any business owner not only needs to know his whole particular business and industry inside and out, but also the financial functions surrounding not only his business, but business in general. You need to know yourself, your competition, your product, and your market -- wholesale and retail. You need to be able to matrix risk and know how to mitigate that risk.

    And if you don't know those things, then you are running a hobby where you may or may not make some money. And any money that you do make is more a function of luck. So if you stay lucky and manage to save up money from year to year that will get you through slim crops without the need to know advanced techniques and financial markets. then great for you. But don't count on the long-term stability of that business model.

    I would rather spend money to spread risk and make $50K per year every year than not spread risk and sometimes make $200 K and sometimes declare bankruptcy.

  • Skepticghoul Sep 14, 2007

    Yet the market is volatile. A farmer cannot insure his crop for fluctuations in the market. A farmer can have a good crop. Other farmers can have good crops and the market starts to dive - supply and demand. How does the farmer keep the markets steady? How can he control them?

    You seem tense. Are you ok?

  • weasleyes Sep 14, 2007

    Steve: You are butting your head against a wall. Although I came from a farm family, I have no idea how long hay can stay in the open and still be nutritious (sp?). However, I can ask my brother-in-law (big farmer) or my favorite nephew (small farmer) who are both opposed to subsidies of any kind to anybody! ???????