From KOAA (Kirsten Bennet):
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 38 Colorado counties suffering from severe losses due to drought as natural disaster areas. The designations mean that farmers and ranchers in these counties are eligible for additional Farm Service Agency assistance. Fourteen counties were declared primary natural disaster areas, while 24 counties were designated as contiguous disaster counties…
Producers in the following counties are eligible for assistance: Adams, Alamosa, Arapahaoe, Archuleta, Boulder, Broomfield, Chaffee, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Delta, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Mineral, Moffatt, Montrose, Ouray, Park, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache, San Miguel, and Teller.
Here’s the release from Governor Hickenloope’s office:
Gov. John Hickenlooper was notified today by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that 14 counties qualify for federal disaster relief because of drought conditions. Fourteen counties were declared primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought and an additional 24 were declared as contiguous disaster counties.
The primary counties are Alamosa, Conejos, Delta, Garfield, Gunnison, Jackson, Jefferson, Mesa, Moffat, Montrose, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt and Saguache. The contiguous counties are Adams, Arapahoe, Archuleta, Boulder, Broomfield, Chaffee, Clear Creek, Costilla, Custer, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Fremont, Gilpin, Grand, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Larimer, Mineral, Ouray, Park, Pitkin, San Miguel and Teller.
The federal disaster relief includes Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available and repayment ability.
Local FSA offices can provide farmers with more information.
From Reuters (Christine Stebbins):
Drought conditions expanded in the contiguous United States over the past week given persistent heat and dryness in the southern Plains, while the eastern half of the country is out of drought amid steady rains, according to a weekly drought report. The U.S. Drought Monitor, issued by state and federal experts on Wednesday, said drought areas in the “moderate to exceptional” categories grew to 44.06 percent, from 43.84 a week ago. “This is the third straight week of the drought expanding,” Matthew Rosencrans, with the U.S. Climate Prediction Center and author of the drought monitor, told Reuters. “The biggest expansion was in northeast Texas but the drought also expanded into southeast Texas and Oklahoma.”[…]
Of the big U.S. crop states, Nebraska – the fourth largest corn state and a leading producer of cattle, sorghum and wheat – is the driest with 88.41 percent in moderate to exceptional drought. That compares to 88.36 percent a week ago and 64.63 percent a year ago.
From the US Drought Monitor:
The U.S. Drought Monitor map for the seven days ending Sept. 18 showed little change from the preceding week, although the total area of the country in moderate or worse drought crept up to yet another record high in the 12-year U.S. Drought Monitor data.
Statistics released with the map showed that 54.25 percent of the country was in moderate drought or worse, the largest percentage so far recorded at that level, up slightly from 53.70 percent the week before. The map showed 34.35 percent in severe drought or worse, down from 34.97 percent a week earlier; 17.35 percent in extreme drought or worse, compared with 17.63 percent the week before; and 4.98 percent in exceptional drought, compared with 5.20 percent the preceding week.
Moderate drought expanded in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Although all of Kansas is still in severe drought or worse, the area in exceptional drought decreased to 51.04 percent from 60.61 percent. Oklahoma saw slight intensification, with the area in extreme drought increasing to 95.33 percent from 94.68 percent, and the area in exceptional drought increasing to 42.09 percent from 39.66 percent.