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USDA Designates Natural Disaster Areas in 256 Counties in Western and Southwestern United States Due to Drought, Opening Door to Assistance

Producers Also Eligible for Disaster Relief Thanks to 2014 Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has previously designated natural disaster areas in 256 counties across Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah due to drought conditions in 2015. USDA wants to remind producers affected by disaster that the 2014 Farm Bill, which was signed into law one year ago by President Obama, has paved the way for qualified farmers and ranchers in affected counties to apply for a variety of safety net programs and loans.

Farmers and ranchers in designated areas may qualify for low interest emergency loans through USDA's Farm Service Agency. 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. Each loan application is considered on its own merits and based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. Visit to learn more.

In addition to drought, USDA's Farm Service Agency also provides assistance for natural disaster loses resulting from flood, fire, freeze, tornadoes, pest infestation, and other calamities. These programs include:

The 2014 Farm Bill also significantly improved the Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program by giving producers the option to select higher levels of risk protection for crops and commodities that do not have crop insurance available. Producers can determine whether Noninsured Disaster Assistance is available by visiting their local FSA office or using a Web-based tool.

The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

To learn more about USDA Farm Service Agency disaster assistance programs, visit the Farm Service Agency factsheet page at or contact your local Farm Service Agency office at


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