Farm and ranch operations in three Arizona counties can apply now for emergency loans to cope with drought conditions. Today the USDA added more California counties to the dozens of previously declared natural disaster areas in California and Nevada. Mojave, La Paz and Yuma qualify because they share borders with the primary declaration areas. Declarations are based on drought conditions.

“Lack of rain can ruin a season’s crops, crops that are a large investment for farmers. It also impacts ranchers and dairies, because drought affects what the animals have to eat,” said Mark Killian, director of the Department of Agriculture. “Low interest loans provide a bridge to help producers stay on their feet through the tough times.”

The Farm Service Administration has requirements to make sure those who receive the funds need it and to ensure repayment.

Farmers and ranchers in Mojave, La Paz and Yuma can apply for the loan within the next eight months. Details on the available loan types and information on how to apply are on the Farm Service Administration’s website.

In 2015 the drought prompted the USDA to declare almost every county in Arizona a primary natural disaster area. Most of Arizona has shown considerable improvement in the last year.

USDA also provides other programs to help producers manage through difficult times. Arizona’s Farm Services Administration has an office in Arizona to help walk producers through the process (602-285-6300).

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