The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced Friday, October 19, 2012, that 33 Virginia counties have received U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designation as primary disaster areas due to losses caused by drought and related disasters that occurred during the 2012 crop year; Gloucester County was included in the designation (VDACS press release).
In accordance with section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, additional areas of Virginia were named as contiguous disaster counties, meaning they border a county or city named as a primary disaster area. The Hampton Roads localities of Franklin, James City, Southampton, Surry, and York were designated as contiguous disaster cities and counties.
A federal Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the federal Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available and repayment ability. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with more information.