Drought Disaster designated for Maui and Hawaiʻi Counties, allowing emergency farm loans

PC: Wendy Osher

The United States Department of Agriculture has designated Maui County and Hawai‘i County as primary natural disaster areas as a result of drought, making farm operators in both counties eligible for emergency loans and other Farm Service Agency assistance. 

US Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack announced the designation in an April 8, 2022, letter to Gov. David Ige.

US Drought Monitor.

The most recent US Drought Monitor report showed both counties had areas that are experiencing extreme drought during the farm growing season.

The persistent drought had already led to a State of Hawai‘i disaster declaration for Maui County related to axis deer, which have proliferated on the island and moved from their normal foraging grounds into agricultural and populated areas as they dry weather withers their usual food sources.

“FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator,” Secretary Vilsack said in the letter.

The deadline to apply for the emergency drought loans is Dec. 8, 2022, eight months from the date of the declaration.

Farmers may contact their local Farm Service Agency office for additional information on assistance that may be available to eligible applicants.

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