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Louisiana Farm Recovery Loan Program Awards $5.7 Million

December 22, 2010

More than a thousand Louisiana farmers will share $5.7 million in funding to help them recover from losses suffered in the 2008 hurricanes, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., and the Louisiana Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD-DRU) announced today.
Producers who participated in the 2008 Farm Recovery Program were eligible for the additional $5.7 million in grant dollars, made available through this second round of funding to the program. Farmers were notified of their eligibility by letter in November and fund disbursement began Dec.6. The average additional grant is $5,706.
Just over 1,000 farmers received $34.8 million through the first round of the program. In the second round, they will receive 18 percent of their original loan amount.
“The additional grant money is a boost for producers who already participated in the 2008 Farm Recovery Grant and Loan Program,” Strain said. “The extra funds will help stabilize farmers’ financial standing even further.”
Strain said the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority (LAFA) within the LDAF administered the grant. LAFA is empowered to provide and administer financial assistance to the Louisiana agricultural community.
“Since the state received our first allocation of recovery funds for hurricanes Gustav and Ike, we were committed to helping the farmers impacted by the storms,” said Adrienne Celestine, OCD-DRU Gustav/Ike program manager. “We are pleased to be able to extend the funding for the farmers in this program, which is the first of its kind to use recovery dollars to help the agricultural community.”
Louisiana’s Farm Recovery program is funded with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, which the Louisiana Recovery Authority and OCD-DRU set aside for aid to the farming community after it suffered losses caused by the 2008 storms.
The 2008 Farm Recovery Program was designed to help farmers and ranchers with their 2009 production costs through a 20 percent grant and 80 percent low-interest loan. As a result of hurricanes Gustav and Ike, more than 47 percent of cotton, 40 percent of sweet potato and 12 percent of sugarcane crops were lost in Louisiana.
The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana’s citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state’s central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry promotes, protects and advances agriculture and forestry, and the state’s soil and water resources. LDAF offers a unified and coordinated team that effectively responds to the challenges facing the agricultural and forestry industries and pursues every opportunity that might provide a benefit to Louisiana and its residents.