On Monday, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill that will help commercial fishermen obtain disaster relief loans.
Kirsten Gillibrand, a senator from New York, announced passage of the measure yesterday. Ms. Gillibrand, a Democratic member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said the amendment had bipartisan support. The amendment adds commercial fishermen to a bill that otherwise provides a safety net to farmers in the event of a natural disaster.
When a county has been declared a disaster area by either the president or the secretary of agriculture, “producers” in that county can become eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.
Under the new amendment, loans may be used to help eligible commercial fishermen as well as farmers, ranchers, and aquaculture producers who have experienced physical losses to structures or equipment. The loans are discretionary and subject to annual appropriations, or done through supplemental appropriations.