"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">OLYMPIA

- Gov. Chris Gregoire on Wednesday proclaimed a state of emergency

due to the severe winter storms that struck western and south

central Washington counties, Dec. 8-18, 2010.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">The

governor's action followed the conclusion of an initial round of

damage assessments by local, state and federal officials in the

affected counties. Her emergency proclamation covers Pacific and

Wahkiakum counties, in addition to Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor,

Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Skagit,

Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom counties.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">“We are

trying to offer as much support as possible to families, businesses

and communities as they continue to recover from this period of bad

weather,” Gregoire said.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">At

various times over the 10-day period, wild weather produced snow,

high winds, heavy precipitation that caused extensive flooding and

saturated soils, landslides, avalanches and power outages. The

affected counties all experienced some level of extensive damage to

homes, businesses, highways, public utilities and other public

infrastructure. 

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">“Working

with our local and federal partners, we're doing a thorough job of

estimating the overall damage,” said Jim Mullen, director of the

Washington Emergency Management Division. “We'll keep working to do

everything we can to help communities put things back

together.”

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">Coupled

with a disaster designation this week by the U.S. Secretary of

Agriculture, the governor's action triggers eligibility for local

farmers and ranchers to receive federal financial relief for crop

losses. The Secretary of Agriculture declared 20 Washington

counties natural disaster areas due to multiple devastating weather

events starting in April of 2010. The designation allows

agricultural producers in these and adjacent counties to request

low-interest emergency loans and direct payments under the

Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment (SURE) program. 

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">The Farm

Service Agency in Chehalis, which oversees Pacific and Grays Harbor

counties, encourages cranberry growers to seek aid.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;"> 

“Pacific and Grays Harbor County producers experienced losses to

cranberries as a result of cold and freezing temperatures, and low

light," said Martha Dorsey, Farm Service Agency county executive

director in Chehalis. "Also producers in adjacent counties may have

had similar crop losses."

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">In

addition to the emergency loans that the Farm Service Agency has

always offered, the 2008 Farm Bill added new disaster programs,

including the SURE program. The program provides supplemental

payments to cover revenue lost when a natural disaster impacts crop

quality or production. Producers need to have already purchased

crop insurance or Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

(NAP) coverage for all of their economically significant crops to

be eligible for SURE payments.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">SURE

payments will be made based on a complex formula that takes into

account the difference between guaranteed revenue and the actual

revenue made for a farm. Producers will need to show documentation

of losses or prevented plantings. SURE program applications for

2010 crop losses will be accepted in 2011, when the 2010 farm

revenue data becomes available.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">Because

SURE is a revenue program, payments are made only after revenue for

the year is known. Producers needing immediate financial assistance

may apply for an emergency loan or inquire about other FSA disaster

programs.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">

Low-interest emergency loans may be used to replace essential

property or pay production costs associated with the disaster year.

They may also be used to pay essential living expenses, reorganize

a farming operation or refinance certain debts. FSA is accepting

emergency loan applications until Sept. 12, 2011.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">

Interested farmers and ranchers may contact the Twin Harbors -

Lewis County FSA office at 360-748-0083 ext 2 for further

information on eligibility requirements and application procedures

for emergency loans and other programs. Additional information is

also available online at:

"http://www.fsa.usda.gov/wa">http://www.fsa.usda.gov/wa

.

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