Drought news: Governor Hickenlooper is asking for more federal dough for Colorado’s dryest counties

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Here’s the release from Governor Hickenlooper’s office (Eric Brown/Megan Castle):

Gov. John Hickenlooper sent a letter today to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting drought assistance for nine additional counties.

“As the drought situation in southern Colorado continues to worsen, I am forced to request secretarial disaster designation for nine additional counties,” the governor’s letter said.

Bent, Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Prowers and Pueblo counties have asked Hickenlooper to seek the federal assistance and be declared primary drought disaster areas. The declaration, if approved, would allow farmers and ranchers to apply for emergency loans if they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere.

The letter also requests disaster assistance for apple producers in Fremont County which lost 60 percent of their crop due to freezes occurring April 28 through May 1, 2011.

Also today, Secretary Vilsack approved Gov. Hickenlooper’s June 16 request for drought disaster relief for Baca, Crowley and Otero counties.

More drought coverage from Anthony A. Mestas writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

On Monday, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., announced that farmers and ranchers will receive emergency assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture…

The declaration allows farmers and ranchers to apply for emergency loans if they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere. Drought designation also enables ranchers who cannot find pasture for their cattle to sell all or part of their herds without having to pay capital gains taxes for five years, giving them time to replenish their herds when pasture is available…

Bent, Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Prowers and Pueblo counties have asked Hickenlooper to seek the federal assistance and be declared primary drought disaster areas. The declaration, if approved, would allow farmers and ranchers to apply for emergency loans if they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere. The letter also requests disaster assistance for apple producers in Fremont County, who lost 60 percent of their crop due to freezes occurring April 28 through May 1…

Udall said ranchers in several Southeastern Colorado counties also are eligible for emergency grazing through Sept. 30 on land set aside through the Conservation Reserve Program.

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