PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon farmers and ranchers who experienced financial losses due to natural disasters in 2021 can apply for financial relief through the Oregon Disaster Assistance Program starting Monday.
In December 2021, the Oregon Legislature made the Oregon Department of Agriculture in charge of establishing a disaster assistance program to distribute $40 million to farmers and ranchers in need.
Working with stakeholders and industry partners, ODA created the Oregon Disaster Assistance Program as a forgivable loan. The program calculates assistance for eligible farmers and ranchers in Oregon based on their loss of gross farm income. The income is based on tax filings from 2017, 2018, and 2019 to establish a three-year baseline of what a producer could have expected to earn from their farm, had they not been impacted by a disaster.
Any calculated difference between a farm’s 2021 income and its three-year baseline is considered a loss due to natural disasters.
“Oregon’s farmers and ranchers are used to dealing with issues beyond their control,” said Alexis Taylor, ODA director. “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.”
Each farm and ranch is eligible to receive up to $125,000 or 90% of the three-year baseline. Producers who meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture definition of a historically underserved producer, or a producer who has less than $350,000 in gross income, may qualify for maximum assistance of $150,000 or 95% of the three-year baseline.
The loan each farmer or rancher receives will be forgiven unless the producer receives additional funds under the Oregon Disaster Assistance Program and certain USDA Farm Service Agency disaster assistance.
If there are enough funds available, ODA says it may conduct a second round of forgivable loan applications.
Local banks and credit unions familiar with agriculture will administer the Oregon Disaster Assistance Program applications throughout the state. The lenders will provide farmers and ranchers the official applications.
Lenders who are accepting applications beginning on May 9 include:
More information about the Oregon Disaster Assistance Program is available on the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s website.