Drought is plaguing the Southwest, leading to disaster declarations for farmers by the USDA.

Four More Arizona Counties Declared Primary Drought Disasters by USDA


The Arizona counties of Greenlee, Navajo, Pima and Yavapai have been added to the growing list of areas being decimated by drought.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) named the four as “primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought,” the agency said in a release on March 4.

It is the second such declaration this year.

RELATED: Drought Wins: USDA Declares 10 Western Counties as 'Primary Natural Disaster Areas'

“Our hearts go out to those Arizona farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in the statement. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling Arizona producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

The contiguous counties of Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma were also tapped to qualify for natural disaster assistance because they adjoin the four major counties, the USDA said. In addition, Catron, Grant and Hidalgo counties in New Mexico and San Juan County in Utah, also contiguous, were declared eligible as well.

The designation makes “all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met,” said the USDA.

Other programs are also available, the USDA said, including the Emergency Conservation Program, The Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program.

“Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses,” the USDA said. “Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.”

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