Farmers and ranchers in Texas counties declared primary disaster may be eligible for Texas Department of Agriculture Linked Deposit Program assistance.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs says producers who lost livestock or other agricultural commodities may “work with local lenders to refinance existing debt or to help re-establish operations at a reduced interest rate through the program.”

Combs said to be eligible producers must have suffered an agricultural loss in a county declared a primary Presidential or Secretarial Disaster area. Producers must have a loan approved by an eligible lender who will submit an application to the Texas Agricultural Finance Authority for approval.

If approved, the bank’s loan rate would be reduced to an interest rate established at closing. Maximum loan financed for disaster relief under the Linked Deposit Program is $250,000 per applicant. The lower interest rate is available for no more than 15 months.

Eligible producers may use Linked Deposit funds for agriculture-related operating expenses or expenses related to replacing or repairing assets damaged by the drought. A loan under the natural disaster category may be applied to existing debt and is the only circumstance where a Linked Deposit loan can be used to refinance existing debt.

For more information, contact TDA at (800) TELL-TDA or www.agr.state.tx.us and look for programs for “Linked Deposit.”