Western Slope freeze damage receives disaster declaration from USDA

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Sunrise over Cherokee Vineyard in Palisade, Colorado. It’s one of dozens of vineyards in Mesa County, contributing to Colorado’s robust $300 million wine industry.

WASHINGTON (KDVR) — On June 18, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Delta and Mesa Counties as primary natural disaster areas and Garfield, Gunnison, Montrose and Pitkin as contiguous disaster counties.

Governor Polis submitted a request for a disaster designation to the USDA due to damage and losses to fruit crops caused by a multi-day freeze in April, 2020.

The disaster designation allows farm operators in those counties eligibility consideration for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including FSA emergency loans

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months to apply for emergency loans, each loan application takes into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator.

The U.S. Small Business Association’s (SBA) disaster loan program, for small, farm-related businesses, is available to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the freeze.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million are also available for small non farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations. The filing deadline is February 18, 2021.

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