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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

'I have the heart of a farmer': Secretary Perdue approves additional relief for Iowa farmers impacted by derecho

The Secretarial disaster designation will allow farm operators in the specified counties to have access to low-interest emergency loans.

RADCLIFFE, Iowa — It's been almost a month since the derecho devastated vast areas of Iowa, dealing another blow to farmers already struggling after several years of hardships. 

Thursday, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue toured parts of Iowa to survey the damage and destruction left behind by the Aug. 10 wind storm. 

While at a stop in Radcliffe, Secretary Perdue approved Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request for additional federal relief to assist farmers and ranchers that sustained damage.

"I have the heart of a farmer,” Secretary Perdue said. “I'm a farm boy. It's sad, somber, sobering and heartbreaking for the people who put their sweat, blood and tears in the crop to produce it, looking forward to a good harvest. Almost to the point they're beginning harvest and then just devastation."

Early estimates show roughly 10 million crop acres in Iowa were in the path of the storm. 

According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, it's tough to know the true impact the derecho had on yields until harvest begins. 

Combine the extremely dry weather Iowa has faced this summer with the devastating wind storm, and the outlook isn't promising for many producers.

Farmers in 42 counties are eligible to apply

Primary Disaster Areas: 

Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama

Contiguous Designations: 

Iowa: Adair, Audubon, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Butler, Carroll, Cass, Delaware, Dubuque, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Iowa, Jackson, Keokuk, Louisa, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Muscatine, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wright.

Illinois: Carroll, Rock Island, Whiteside.

Under the USDA Secretarial Derecho Disaster Designation, farmers and ranchers in 42 counties may qualify for low-interest Farm Service Agency emergency loans. 

The USDA designated 18 counties as primary natural disaster areas. An additional 24 are eligible for assistance because they are surrounding the primary counties. 

Credit: WOI
Red counties are those designated as primary natural disaster areas. Yellow counties are contiguous counties that also qualify for assistance.

Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs, including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation, or the refinancing of certain debts.

Applications for emergency loans can be found here.

The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is May 3, 2021.

Both crop and livestock producers are eligible for assistance.

This Secretarial Derecho Disaster Declaration is in addition to the Secretarial Drought Disaster Declaration that was announced in August.

WATCH: Secretary Perdue speaks with members of the media following an event in Radcliffe Thursday. 

RELATED: Gov. Reynolds says federal derecho aid will 'help Iowans get back on their feet', but many counties still await individual assistance

RELATED: President Trump approves FEMA individual assistance for people in Linn County