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Inouye, Akaka laud assistance for drought relief


Hawaii County, Maui County and the Kalaupapa area of Molokai have been declared agricultural disaster zones after suffering from substandard rainfall that has resulted in severe drought conditions, Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka announced.

Drought conditions in the affected counties have persisted for years and resulted in crop loss, livestock deaths and water restrictions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture informed the state of the designation in a letter sent to Gov. Linda Lingle.

“Farmers on Maui and the Big Island have been adversely affected by the weather and the global recession and this designation will hopefully help them attain the financial aid they need to ramp up production,” Inouye said.

“Emergency loans and financial assistance provided by the USDA will help Maui and Big Island farmers who have been struggling through extended draught,” Akaka said.

This designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met.

This assistance includes FSA emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program, which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.

FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability.

On the Big Island, contact the FSA at: (808) 933-8381 Ext. 8340

On Maui, contact the FSA at: (808) 871-5500 Ext. 353

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