Applications for emergency farm loans due to damages and losses caused by recent severe weather are being accepted at the Farm Service Agency in Alice.

Eleven Texas counties, including Nueces County, have been declared eligible by President Bush for loans to cover part of the actual production loses resulting from the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred between June 16 and Aug. 3.

Farm Loan Manager Edmundo Garza said farmers may be eligible for loans up to 100 percent of their actual losses, or the operating loan needed to continue in business, whichever is less. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for farmers unable to obtain credit from private commercial lenders.

"As a general rule, a farmer must have suffered at least a 30 percent loss of production to be eligible for a FSA emergency loan," Garza said.

Farmers participating in the Federal Crop Insurance Program will have to figure in proceeds from those programs in determining their losses.

Applications for loans under the emergency designation are due by April 21, but Garza encouraged farmers to apply as soon as possible.

"Delays in applying could create backlogs in processing and possible runover into the new farming season," Garza said.

The FSA is a credit agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The FSA is authorized to provide emergency loans to recognized farmers who work at and rely on farming for a substantial part of their livings.

Eligibility is extended to individual farmers who are U.S. citizens and to farming partnerships, corporations or cooperatives in which U.S. citizens hold a majority interest.

The FSA office in Alice at 2287 N. Texas Blvd., Suite 2, is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call (361) 668-8361.