Gov. Spencer J. Cox, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah), and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) announced today that the Go Utah Board approved a proposal to deliver $5 million for an Emergency Disaster Relief (EDR) loan program.
Funding is coming out of the Industrial Assistance Account (IAA), managed by Go Utah, and being delivered to UDAF to administer a loan program to help Utah agriculture businesses deal with the ongoing drought.
“Utah’s current extreme and prolonged drought conditions have been devastating for our agricultural producers,” Gov. Cox said. “These farmers and ranchers need real solutions and we are committed to helping in every way we can. Authorizing money from Go Utah will provide necessary aid to those who truly need it.”
Utah’s agricultural producers are currently experiencing the negative impacts of an unprecedented drought. With 99.4% of the state of Utah under extreme or exceptional drought conditions, the effects of continued severe drought place the viability of Utah’s farmers and ranchers and their agricultural and economic productivity in jeopardy.
“We’re proud and grateful to be able to offer this assistance to Utah farmers and ranchers,” said Dan Hemmert, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity. “We thank the Go Utah Board for approving this use of IAA funds. We’re happy to partner with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, who will administer and distribute the much-needed loans.”
The program’s purpose is to assist Utah producers by providing loan funds to help them address extraordinary circumstances related to drought. The program is to help manage production losses between Gov. Cox’s declaration of a drought disaster on May 15, 2021, and April 1, 2022.
Crop producers may seek reimbursement for crop loss if they can document a 50% loss since the disaster declaration compared to their average production over the prior three years.
In addition, livestock producers may seek reimbursement for the death loss of breeding stock, the cost of replacement of breeding stock sold due to drought, and the cost of feed purchased.
“Utah’s farmers and ranchers have been hit the hardest by not only the drought but also flooding conditions in the southern half of our state,” said Craig Buttars, commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. “We are hopeful that these loans will be a financial bridge that will allow producers to keep their operations going so that they will continue to benefit not only Utah’s rural economies but all Utahns who enjoy local agricultural products.”
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will administer the Emergency Disaster Relief loan program under its Agriculture Resource Development Loan (ARDL) program. Agricultural producers can apply for the EDR loans starting Sept. 13, 2021. Applicants can receive loans of up to $100,000 to help reimburse expenses they have experienced due to the drought, such as feed costs, lost livestock, or crop loss. For more information on the EDR loan program and to apply, visit ag.utah.gov.