WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined a primary disaster designation for farmers and producers in Ashland, Holmes, and Tuscarawas counties due to recent excessive rain, flooding, high winds, and tornadoes. In addition to these three primary counties, nine other northern and east-central Ohio counties—Hancock, Harrison, Huron, Lorain, Medina, Richland, Seneca, Stark and Wayne—were also designated as contiguous disaster counties.

With this disaster designation, producers in primary and contiguous counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for emergency loans (EM) as well as the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program.

"This is about helping Ohio farmers whose livelihoods have affected by severe weather,” Brown said. “The USDA disaster designation is important for Ohio’s farmers and for our state’s largest industry. I encourage affected farmers in northern and east-central Ohio to contact their local Farm Service Agency office as soon as possible so that they can receive necessary assistance.”

Farmers in the counties have eight months from the date of disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. Emergency loan assistance can be used to restore or replace essential property, pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the farming operation, and refinance certain debts. The SURE program provides financial assistance for crop production and or quality losses due to a natural disaster.

Farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office for further information.