USDA OKs disaster declarations for North Carolina counties

October 21, 2021 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Twelve counties in western North Carolina have been granted requests for a primary county disaster designation after excessive rain and flooding from Tropical Storm Fred during the summer, according to a news release.

The news release from Gov, Roy Cooper’s office also says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack announced that six additional counties were also named as contiguous disaster counties.

The disaster designation makes farm operators eligible for certain assistance, including emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency, provided they meet eligibility requirements. Farmers in the designated counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loans, the news release said.

The disaster declarations cover the primary counties of Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Transylvania and Yancey counties. It also affects the contiguous counties of Avery, Burke, Graham, Polk, Rutherford and Swain.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Fred dumped heavy rain across western North Carolina, leading to flooding and landslides. Six deaths were attributed to the storm.

Flooding severely impacted many farms, damaging crops and farming infrastructure during harvest time for a number of crops.