LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a primary disaster designation to Sanilac County after severe droughts during this year’s growing seasons.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer made the request and today “applauded,” the USDA for making the designation.
The ruling by the USDA makes farm operators in Sanilac County as well as contagious counties of Huron, Lapeer, St. Clair and Tuscola elgible for help from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA.)
“From freezing temperatures and drought to flooding and high winds, many of our producers are finding themselves in the midst of yet another difficult growing season. I am pleased the USDA responded to our request and I’m looking forward to the further assessment of those counties not included in this designation. This relief can’t come soon enough for our farmers who endured tremendous hardship as a result of the adverse weather we’ve seen this year,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am grateful to USDA and our Michigan delegation, especially Sen. Debbie Stabenow, for their ongoing leadership and partnership to ensure our farmers receive the assistance and supports they need.”
Governor Whitmer sent a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack in July asking for relief for counties impacted by severe weather.
“Our farmers and producers continue to face unpredictable and extreme weather conditions,” said Gary McDowell, director, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This disaster designation and emergency loan opportunity provides a helping hand to our farmers ensuring they have ready access to the resources they need to keep feeding Michiganders and the world.”
This spring, Michigan experienced a significant period of freezing temperatures after many warm days, which negatively effected the state’s crops.
In addition, the state saw droughts and flooding, sometimes within days of each other.
“Areas of the Thumb experienced difficult weather conditions this spring, including ongoing drought and late frost that had a detrimental impact on the ability of farmers to produce a crop,” said Jim Zook, executive director of the Michigan Corn Growers Association. “We appreciate the Governor’s actions to secure a disaster declaration, which will give farmers access to much-needed USDA resources and assistance.”
“The value of soybeans grown in Michigan is $614 million dollars annually. Sanilac County is the second largest soybean-growing county in the state per the National Agricultural Statistic Service, producing over 6.4 million bushels of soybeans in 2020 alone. This designation as a disaster area not only brings awareness to the impacts drought can have on agriculture, but also offers financial support for farmers struggling due to these weather implications,” said Janna Fritz, CEO of the Michigan Soybean Committee. “Soybeans from Michigan are used in a multitude of ways, including many value-added soy-based products such as tires, lubricants and biodiesel fuel. Our soybean growers appreciate the efforts of our ag leaders including Senator Stabenow, Governor Whitmer and Congresswoman McClain to secure this declaration, which will help our industry recover from this disaster and allow Michigan farmers to continue growing a crop that supports the Michigan economy.”
Producers should contact their local FSA office for additional information.