Pickens County eligible for USDA assistance

Local farmers can apply for loans due to freezing conditions earlier this year

UPSTATE — Pickens County is one of 12 South Carolina counties eligible for USDA assistance as a result of a U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster designation.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) county executive director Glenn Thomas announced recently that four primary and eight contiguous counties are eligible as a result of damages and losses caused by freezing conditions from Jan. 8 through March 29.

The primary counties consist of Cherokee, Greenville, Spartanburg and Union, while Abbeville, Anderson, Chester, Fairfield, Laurens, Newberry, Pickens and York make up the list of eligible contiguous counties.

The decision makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the FSA.

All qualified farm operators are eligible for loans, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration — June 17 — Zto apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA has also made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

Interested farmers may contact their local USDA service centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. More information is also available online at