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Feds declare agricultural disaster for Kauai after April floods


    Gov. David Ige, left, flies over the flood-damaged areas on Kauai on April 16.

A federal agricultural disaster designation has been approved for Kauai County after April’s devastating floods, state Department of Agriculture officials have announced.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue notified Gov. David Ige that the designation has been approved after heavy rains and flooding in mid-April caused severe damage to Kauai’s agriculture industry. While state emergency agricultural loans are available, the designation opens the door to federal disaster assistance to help farmers get back in production, state officials said Monday.

“The damage from the record-breaking rainfall took an extreme toll on our farmers,” said Ige in a news release. “We need to make sure that all possible assistance for our farmers is available so they can recover and thrive once again.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency requested the disaster designation on April 24 while submitting its preliminary damage report for agriculture in the county.

With the designation, Kauai County farm operators are eligible to apply for assistance, including emergency loans, from the FSA. Farmers have eight months to apply for FSA emergency loans to cover agricultural production losses as well as physical losses sustained by agricultural operations on Kauai and Niihau.

Farmers can contact the FSA office at 245-9014 Ext. 2 or the state’s Agricultural Loan Division at 973-9460 for information on state emergency loans and loan payment deferrals.

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