Rep. Newhouse Welcomes Federal Agricultural Disaster Designation for Central Washington Due to Drought

June 24, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Secretary, Thomas Vilsack, announced the designation of select Central Washington counties as primary natural disaster areas due to the ongoing drought. The USDA designation allows farmers to be considered for eligibility for additional federal disaster assistance from the Farm Service Agency, including emergency loans.

“I am encouraged by Secretary Vilsack’s declaration recognizing the historic drought facing agricultural producers in Central Washington,” said Rep. Newhouse. “USDA’s declaration is critical for ensuring that our agricultural producers are considered for the assistance they need, including access to low-interest emergency loans and Farm Service Agency assistance. I look forward to working with farmers and ranchers in Central Washington as well as USDA and other federal agencies on solutions on how best to support growers and producers through this drought crisis.”

Counties in Washington’s Fourth Congressional District designated “primary natural disaster areas” include: Adams, Benton, Franklin, Grant, Walla Walla, and Yakima. Okanogan and Douglas counties have been named “contiguous disaster counties,” and are also eligible for assistance.

Certain USDA disaster assistance is available without a disaster declaration. However certain aid, such as emergency loans, and disaster set-aside loan deferment, requires a disaster declaration. Potentially eligible producers can contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to verify loan eligibility, determine drought relief eligibility under other USDA programs, and seek information about crop insurance, which is USDA’s primary drought response tool.

Rep. Newhouse is a member of the House Committee on Agriculture.