Hawaii farmers get federal help after emissions

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2009 2:00 PM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated the Big Island a primary natural disaster area because of losses farmers suffered from volcanic emissions this year.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday that he and President Barack Obama understand the emissions from Kilauea volcano caused serious harm to farms.

Vilsack says the designation will provide help to hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses in the cut flower and fresh produce industries.

The Big Island was designated a natural disaster area Nov. 24.

The action makes qualified farm operators eligible for low-interest emergency loans.