Isabella County Farmers Happy After U.S.D.A Declares Natural Disaster

Good news for farmers that suffered serious flood damage this spring.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a secretarial natural disaster for farmers dealing with crop damage.

Back in June, Isabella, Midland, Gladwin, and Bay counties saw tons of rain causing devastating flooding.

That flooding damaged homes, farms and the area’s infrastructure.

The president even declared it a major disaster.

The U.S.D.A. recently declared it a natural disaster, which means farmers in 18 Michigan counties can now apply for loans to help them bounce back.

Farmers can now apply for emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency.

And those farmers say it is much needed.

“We had several fields that were flooded out, several washouts that we had to deal with,” says Jerry Neyer, owner of Neyer Farms.

Jerry Neyer is just one of many farmers greatly affected by this spring’s flooding in Isabella County.

His corn crop took a beating from the rain.

“Not only does it wash away the soil but it takes away the nutrients and fertilizers that we put on there, so even though the crop looks like it went through okay as a season wore on, in September there wasn’t enough nutrients to complete the maturely of the crops,” says Neyer.

You’ll notice these corn stalks are pretty short, farmers say because of the washouts and replants, they didn’t reach eight feet.

“I would say our fields were probably down 15 percent so that’s 15 percent less feed we have for our cattle and if we don’t have enough to make it through the season, we’re going to have to go out and purchase it.

But with this U.S.D.A. declaration, things are looking up for farmers like Jerry.

“We farm with another farmer who plants our crops, he will be making the claims on the fields and replacing what he got. It’s a good thing, it’s not going to replace anything but it’s going to give us at least a chance to recuperate some of our costs that we have put into the crop,” says Neyer.

Farmers have eight months to apply for the assistance.

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