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Gov. Abbott And Commissioner Miller Request USDA Disaster Designation For West Texas Counties (1/8/2016)

AUSTIN - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today urged U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to grant a disaster designation for 11 West Texas counties impacted by Winter Storm Goliath. A USDA disaster designation would make federal assistance, such as emergency loans, available to agricultural producers who have suffered losses in the designated counties, as well as in counties that are contiguous to a designated county. The designation has been requested for Bailey, Castro, Cochran, Deaf Smith, Hale, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Parmer, Terry and Yoakum counties.

“The agriculture industry in Texas is as important as ever to our state and local economy, and when disasters like this devastate that industry, it is imperative that we provide farmers and ranchers with the necessary assistance,” Gov. Abbott said. “I urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to grant a disaster designation so that Texas agricultural communities can begin to rebuild their livelihoods.”

“Texas farmers and ranchers are used to facing Mother Nature’s fury, but the large-scale loss of livestock and stop in operations caused by Winter Storm Goliath has dealt a devastating blow to many,” Commissioner Miller said. “These men and women are passionate about providing the beef and dairy products that sustain our state and nation, and deserve every available resource as they clean-up, rebuild and return their operations to full working order.”

Producers who have sustained livestock losses as a result of severe weather may be eligible for assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Livestock Indemnity Program, and should immediately contact their local FSA offices to apply. For more information about this program, please visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/livestock-indemnity/index.

Agricultural operations may also be eligible to apply for funds through the State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) fund, administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture. To donate to the STAR Fund or apply for assistance, please visit http://texasagriculture.gov/Home/ProductionAgriculture/DisasterAssistance/STARFund.aspx.

To view Gov. Abbott and Commissioner Miller’s letter to Secretary Vilsack, please click here.