April 14, 2022 at 12:30 p.m. HST
* Updated April 14, 8:53 am
The US Department of Agriculture has designated Maui County and Hawai’i County as primary natural disaster areas as a result of the drought, making farm operators in both counties eligible for emergency loans and other assistance from the Farm Service Agency.
US Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack announced the appointment in a letter to Governor David Ige dated April 8, 2022.
The latest report from the US Drought Monitor showed that there were areas in both counties that were hit by extreme drought during the farm’s growing season.
The ongoing drought had already resulted in a Hawaii State disaster declaration for Maui County related to axis deer, which have proliferated on the island and migrated from their normal foraging grounds to agricultural and populated areas as the dry weather withers their usual food sources.
“The FSA will assess each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses at the farm and the safety and repayment ability of the operator,” Minister Vilsack said in the letter.
The deadline to apply for the drought relief loans is December 8, 2022, eight months from the date of the declaration.
farmers are allowed Contact the local Farm Service Agency office for additional information about assistance that may be available to eligible applicants.