News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Disaster assistance available to area farms

Farmers and ranchers who experienced financial losses due to various natural disasters in 2021 can apply for assistance from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA).

Local banks and credit unions familiar with agriculture will administer funds through the ODA’s Oregon Disaster Assistance Program (ODAP).

“Oregon’s farmers and ranchers are used to dealing with issues beyond their control,” said Director Alexis Taylor, ODA. “But the series of natural disasters, where historic drought conditions were compounded by record-breaking heat, wildfire smoke, early winter storm damage, and pest infestation in 2021, was hard for any producer to absorb.”

In December 2021, the Oregon Legislature granted ODA the legal authority and $40 million to establish a disaster assistance program. ODA designed ODAP as a forgivable loan with stakeholders and industry partners. 

The program calculates assistance for eligible farmers and ranchers in Oregon on the loss of Gross Farm Income. ODAP is based on tax filing from 2017, 2018, and 2019 to establish a three-year baseline of what a producer could have expected in farm income without disaster impacts. 

Using the producer’s 2021 Gross Farm Income, the difference between 2021 income and the 3-year baseline is considered a loss due to natural disasters.

The maximum assistance is $125,000 or 90 percent of the three-year baseline. In addition, producers who meet the USDA definition of a historically underserved producer or have less than $350,000 in gross income may qualify for maximum assistance is $150,000 or 95 percent of the three-year baseline.

Assistance will be forgiven unless the producer receives additional funds under ODAP and certain US Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency  disaster assistance. 

Based on available funds, ODAP may conduct a second round of applications.

For a list of partners and a sample application, visit the ODAP web page, https://www.oregon.gov/oda/agriculture/Pages/DroughtDisaster.aspx. Applications will be available until June 3.

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