TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County farmers affected by an Aug. 1, 2018, hailstorm can apply for emergency loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture emergency loans, as can those in seven other counties.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue declared Grand Traverse County as a primary natural disaster area, according to a USDA release. The declaration also covers Antrim, Benzie, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford counties.

That means farmers can seek emergency loans to replace or repair essential property, equipment or livestock, pay production costs for the disaster year or refinance certain debts, according to program documents. Loans can cover up to 100 percent of physical or production losses, up to $500,000.

Eligibility requirements include being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, being an established family farm operator, an acceptable credit history and an ability to repay, program documents show.

There's an Aug. 13 deadline to apply, according to the release. Farmers can contact the Farm Service Agency office in Traverse City at 941-0951, in Bellaire at 533-6450 or in Scottville at 757-3707.

Other programs like the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program and the Operating and Farm Ownership Loans don't require a disaster declaration, according to the release.

More information is available at https://www.farmers.gov/recover.

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