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Federal Disaster Designation Makes St. Croix Farmers Eligible For Money

animals dead

FREDERIKSTED – Agriculture Commissioner Carlos Robles said the Virgin Islands has qualified for additional assistance for livestock farmers on St. Croix who have been adversely affected by the drought that began in February.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack designated St. Croix a primary natural disaster area in August, Robles said.

The disaster declaration makes farm operators eligible to be considered for certain assistance from UDSA Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met, the commissioner said.

Recently, the VIDOA was informed that because of the combined efforts of the veterinary services team and the local and regional office of the USDA-FSA, the Virgin Islands has qualified not only for low-interest loans for farmers but for two additional programs, the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFDP).

The LIP provides benefits for eligible livestock farmers for livestock deaths caused by adverse weather. The LFDP provides benefits to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or is planted specifically for grazing.

Robles encouraged all St. Croix livestock farmers who have suffered loss of animals and loss of pasture grasses to contact the Farm Service Agency office and make an appointment to see if you are eligible for assistance.

“This is a very unique opportunity for livestock farmers to recoup some of the losses they suffered during the drought,” he said.

For more information please call the USDA Farm Service Agency at (340) 773-9146 ext. 2.


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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