Drought disaster counties continue to be added
"As drought persists, USDA will continue to partner with producers to see them through longer-term recovery, while taking the swift actions needed to help farmers and ranchers prepare their land and operations for the upcoming planting season," said Vilsack. "I will also continue to work with Congress to encourage passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs bill that gives rural America the long-term certainty they need, including a strong and defensible safety net."
The 597 counties designated this week as disaster areas have shown a drought intensity value of at least D2 (Severe Drought) for eight consecutive weeks based on U.S. Drought Monitor measurements, providing for an automatic designation. The Drought Monitor is produced in partnership by USDA, the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Drought Monitor measures drought intensity on a scale as follows: D1, Moderate Drought; D2, Severe Drought; D3, Extreme Drought; and D4, Exceptional Drought.
A natural disaster designation makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans. The interest rate on emergency loans currently stands at 2.15 percent, providing a competitive resource for producers hoping to recover from production and physical losses associated with natural disasters.
More information about the specific state disaster designations can be found at the Farm Service Agency's disaster designations webpage.