State Rep. Woody Burton wants the community to know that since Johnson County was recently deemed a natural disaster area by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), residents may qualify for help.
“The lack of rain and record breaking temperatures has made for a harsh summer for everyone in our community,” said Rep. Burton.
Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Undersecretary, Michael Scuse, is set to visit Kelsay Farms, a sixth-generation dairy and crop farm, on Thursday morning in Whiteland. Scuse visited farms in Allen and White counties on Wednesday.
Farmers may be the most effected by recent weather conditions, but the effects do not stop there. All Hoosiers are experiencing the effects of the current weather conditions and will continue to do so if those conditions persist.
Because of the expected high loss of corn, consumers will soon notice higher prices at the supermarket. The price of corn jumped to $7.79 a bushel in a month’s time, a 40 percent increase. On average, a 50 percent increase in the price of corn will result in a one percent increase in the price of food. The cost of meat could increase as much as 10 percent because corn serves as the main feed for livestock.
However, the increase in food prices will not be immediate. Consumers can expect products at the local supermarket to increase in price around the time farmers begin harvesting and selling their yield. The increase could then remain steady and gradually rise for several months.
“We will probably see the effects of the drought for months to come, and it will take a toll on our pocketbooks,” said Rep. Burton.
In order to better help farmers in the designated disaster areas, the USDA will offer a reduced rate for emergency loans that will effectively lower the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent, providing eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for low interest loans. The USDA will also create a payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012 from 25 to 10 percent.
The USDA is urging all farmers to contact their crop insurance companies as well as their local USDA Farm Service Agency Service Centers to report crop damage or livestock loss. In addition, they are reminding livestock producers to keep thorough records of losses, including additional expenses for such things as food purchased due to lost supplies.