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Holmes County Farmer Calls Emergency Loan Program 'Shot In The Arm' For Panhandle Agriculture

Scott Goodwill

Panhandle farmers whose crops were devastated by Hurricane Michael will now be able to apply for emergency no-interest loans to help recover. One Holmes County farmer is glad to see some financial relief on the horizon.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced this week he’s activating the state’s Small Business Emergency Loan Program, which makes available $25 million dollars for interest-free loans to farmers. Jeremy Rolling is a farmer who grows peanuts, corn and cotton in Holmes County. He says farmers who receive the loans may have to use it to pay down debts.

"I would imagine the majority of the people that qualify would have to use that money to either make payments that they couldn’t make last year because of the storm, or pay down some of last year’s debt to secure funding for this year," Rolling said. "Or some people may take it and actually use some of the funding to get the crop in the ground."

Rolling says with the absence of federal aid, the Governor’s executive action is a welcome hand up.

"Realistically, if we could have got it a little earlier it would have been great, but we’re just happy we got one. We can make it work, with the timing of it," Rolling said. "We’re just so thankful that we were able to obtain some help, because we still have yet to receive any federal help whatsoever."

Farmers in the region are in the midst of the planting season for some crops.