Sen. Cruz Applauds Expedited USDA Disaster Declaration for 23 Texas Counties
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issuing a federal disaster declaration for 23 counties including Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy amid significant agricultural production losses due to the severe winter storms that hit the State of Texas last month:
"I am grateful the USDA swiftly took action in response to the letter Sen. Cornyn and I sent requesting federal support for Texas' agricultural producers in order to help them recover from the severe damage and production losses sustained following last month's historic winter storms. These emergency measures will greatly aid these 23 counties as we continue to address the needs of Texans across the state in the wake of these storms."
In February, Sens. Cruz and John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter urging the Acting Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Shea to issue a formal disaster declaration for these counties.
Under this USDA disaster declaration, eligible farmers, ranchers, and aquaculture producers in these designated counties may become eligible for low-interest emergency disaster (EM) loans available through FSA when the producer suffers a significant loss of an annual crop, or from physical losses - such as damaged structures or equipment used for the replanting of permanent crops. A qualified applicant can then borrow up to 100% of actual production or physical losses, not to exceed a total of $500,000.
The USDA offers several programs, most of which are permanently authorized, designed to help farmers and ranchers recover from the financial effects of natural disasters, including:
- Federal crop insurance
- The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
- Livestock and fruit tree disaster programs
- Emergency disaster loans for both crop and livestock producers, which is the only one requiring a federal disaster designation.