Sometimes proximity to California has its benefits

The State of Jefferson may never become more than a myth, but farmers and ranchers from four wannabe counties Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake — are now eligible for federal assistance because they border California.

Who said close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades?

The U.S. Agriculture Department designated 27 California counties as primary natural disaster areas last week due to a  previous drought.

All qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

The Farm Service Agency said it considers loan applications on their own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack previously extended emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres, freeing up a record 2.8 million acres and as much as $200 million in forage and feed for ranchers during a challenging time. He permited haying or grazing of cover crops without impacting the insurability of planted 2013 spring crops. Vilsack also allowed haying and grazing of Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) easement areas in drought-affected areas where haying and grazing is consistent with conservation of wildlife habitat and wetlands.

Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. For eligibility requirements and application procedures programs. Additional information, go to


Chalk one up for the little guy. To Delta Airlines’ great irritation, a judge in Georgia ruled in favor of small community outside Atlanta wanting to extend its runway. Such a move Paulding County’s airport would bring in commercial competition to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, dominated by Delta.


The U.S. Small Business Administration says constituents suffering economic losses when the owner or a key employee was called up to active duty are eligible to apply for a low interest loan of up to $2 million from .

Small businesses can apply for a Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan any time from the date of notice of expected call-up and ending one year after the date of discharge or release. The program was designed to help small businesses operate as if an owner or key employee hadn’t been called to active duty.

The interest rate on such working capital loans is 4 percent, with terms up to a maximum of 30 years. In general, the SBA said, no collateral is required to secure an MREIDL of $50,000 or less.  The loan cannot be used to replace lost income or profits, refinance long-term debt or to expand the business.

Businesses can apply online at  To get an application by mail, or for other questions about the loan program, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or by email at




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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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