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Boil Advisory!

Farmers eligible for disaster aid

Help is on the way for local farmers.

On Oct. 14, President Obama declared a major disaster in the state of North Carolina based on damages and losses caused by severe storms, flooding and straight-line winds associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole from Sept. 27 through Oct. 1.

While Gates County was not among the six counties listed as primary disaster areas, assistance to local farmers will be provided from the federal government.

According to Bill Earley, Director of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Gates and Hertford counties, local farmers may apply for emergency loans due to physical and production losses.

Gates was among the 13 counties named as contiguous areas to the primary disaster counties. Hertford and Bertie counties were two of the six primary disaster areas.

Gates County Emergency Management Director Billy Winn has estimated $3 million in agricultural losses. He said the bulk of those losses are linked to the peanut and cotton crops.

Farming related losses in Hertford County were projected at $2.5 million. There, damages to cotton ($1.13 million) and peanuts ($705,600) topped the list.

Agricultural losses in Bertie County were estimated at $3.27 million. Well over one-half of that damage was the cotton crop where losses were estimated at $1.56 million in addition to another $500,000 in cotton seed. Bertie farmers can apply for assistance by contacting Michelle Winslow at the Perquimans County FSA Office (252-426-5802).

Earley said that effective Oct. 14, farmers in Gates and Hertford counties may apply for emergency loans based on physical and production losses. The deadline for filing an application is June 14, 2011.

FSA offices are located at 104 New Road in Gatesville and 307 West Tryon Street in Winton. Office hours at both locations are 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Local farmers needing additional information are urged to contact the FSA at 357-0290 (Gates County) or 358-7842 (Hertford County).

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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