WASHINGTON, D.C. • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated Elmore County in Idaho as a primary natural disaster area due to the recent drought.

“Our hearts go out to those Idaho farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “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 Idaho producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood,” Vilsack said.

Farmers and ranchers in the following contiguous counties in Idaho also qualify for natural disaster assistance: Ada, Boise, Custer, Owyhee, Blaine, Camas, Gooding and Twin Falls.

All counties listed were designated natural disaster areas on March 19, making 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.

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.

FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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