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Gallatin farmers, ranchers face deadline for emergency aid

By Jordan Moore, KTVM Reporter, jmoore@ktvm.com
Published On: Aug 23 2013 07:21:57 PM MDT
Updated On: Aug 23 2013 09:12:41 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The clock is ticking for Gallatin County farmers and ranchers who suffered hail damage earlier this month. We told you this week how the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a disaster declaration for the county for an August first storm. That storm did an estimated $50 million in damage.

Conni Mahoney and her husband know firsthand the damage the hail storm did. They tell us there is always the possibility for severe weather.

"A hail storm one year and flooding the next year, you never really know," said Mahoney.

We first met the Mahoneys at their Manhattan farm, about a week after the storm hit.

"We did lose all of our sweet corn," said Mahoney.

The Farm Service Agency is estimating they are just one of approximately 200 producers who were effected by this storm. A recent declaration signed by secretary Tom Vilsack allows for people like the Mahoneys to apply for an emergency loan.

"We haven't really had time to look into it much. We haven't had a whole lot of time. It is starting to get into our crazy busy time with harvesting," said Mahoney.

We spoke to Dave Pitts with the Farm Service Agency. He tells us it is a fairly simple process.

"It is a four-page application," said Pitts.

When we spoke with Pitts he tells us the application asks for financial information as well as details about the loss you experienced in the hail storm.

"There were a number of producers that suffered 100 percent loss," said Pitts.

He tells us there are loans available for up to $500,000. His best advice is to contact your local FSA office if you are in need of an emergency loan.

"What we have been able to do is roughly determine  that you are eligible for assistance and you are able to repay the loan, within about 33 days," said Pitts.

He says this is not the only timeline you should be aware of.

"Producers that are effected would be eligible to apply within eight months of the designation period, so April 21, 2014," said Pitts.

You can find a link to the Farm Service aid application under Fastlinks.