Fair brings a welcome respite for the farmer

As we celebrate the agriculture and farming community this week at the 75th annual Ross County Fair, it’s important to remember that many of our farmers have had a tough year.

Tariffs were the first big blow, and since the beginning of the year, agriculture experts have been talking about the devastating impact farmers could suffer as the crops they grow have fewer places to go as China shuts down the borders to U.S. goods and services. Late May storms caused straight-line winds, tornadoes, flooding, and even landslides in part of the state and more hardship befell the agriculture community. Meanwhile, those rains were a harbinger of things to come — a wet early summer to date created more production losses across Ross County and the entire state.

Now comes word that China has halted U.S. agricultural imports in the wake of further tariffs imposed last week.

And, we haven’t even gotten to the long, hot part of the “long, hot summer” yet. All in all, it’s a been a tough year.

But help is out there for both farmers and the small businesses that support the agriculture community, but some deadlines are coming that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Gov. Mike DeWine last week announced the U.S. Agriculture Department had designated half of Ohio’s 88 counties with a disaster declaration. That includes Ross, Pickaway, Hocking and Vinton counties. Because of the designation, farm operators can be considered for assistance from the Farm Services Agency, which could include emergency loans. Farmers should contact their local FSA office and more information is available at disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

Also, Aug. 19 is the deadline for the U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan to help repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Affected businesses in Ross County (as well as Fayette and Vinton) are only eligible for economic injury disaster loans, while Pickaway County businesses are eligible for both physical and economic disaster loans. More information is available by clicking here.

The fair kicked off with great fanfare last night as Allison Minney and Brice Robinson were named queen and king, respectively. Here’s hoping the rest of the fair — and the year will go a little better for our farmers.