South Carolina farmers eligible for federal aid

Financial help from the federal government soon will be available for Columbia-area farmers suffering from this summer’s frequent rain.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack on Wednesday officially approved Governor Nikki Haley’s request for a disaster declaration for Richland and Lexington counties, in addition to many others in the Palmetto State.

Vilsack’s decision means farmers can apply for USDA Farms Service Agency emergency loans. Farmers in the affected counties have eight months to apply from the date of the Secretarial Disaster Declaration.

All 46 counties statewide were designated either primary or contiguous natural disaster areas, and farmers in all 46 counties can apply. Richland County is on the primary disaster area list, while Lexington County is contiguous. Those interested can contact the Farms Service agency through its website.

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