MDARD launches ag disaster GIS viewer

Online portal gives farmers up-to-date data on disaster areas

LAKE COUNTY -- Michigan's farming community is certainly no stranger to the challenges thrown at it by Mother Nature.

Thankfully, there are several programs to help farmers weather those challenges.

In order to help the state's farmers more easily identify if their county falls within a declared disaster area, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development launched a Geographic Information System (GIS) viewer providing a one-stop portal of data.

GIS allows MDARD to take different types of data sets and turn it into an easy to understand visual like a map.

"Extreme weather conditions such as drought, deep freezes or flooding impacts our farmers' ability to planting, harvest or tend to their crops, financial assistance programs can be a critical lifeline," MDARD Director Gary McDowell said. "We wanted to ensure that they could quickly and easily identify programs in their area. I am encouraging farmers to bookmark this viewer for future use."

Using data from resources like Michigan State University Extension and the United States Department of Agriculture, MDARD was able to use GIS software to develop a map with the resources available. The viewer will be constantly updated as new information and aid is identified.

For information regarding crop disaster resources or to access the viewer, visit


These are the current crop disaster areas declared in Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties. For more information, visit

• Lake County: Excessive rain in 2019, declared Jan. 31, 2020. Loan deadline is Oct. 1, 2020.

• Lake County: Excessive rain in 2020, declared May 7, 2020. Loan deadline is Jan. 4, 2021.