The United States Department of Agriculture has designated 14 more Colorado counties to be primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by ongoing drought conditions in the area.
This week, Costilla, La Plata, Ouray, San Miguel, Dolores, Montezuma, Saguache, Chaffee, Fremont, Cheyenne, Crowley, Kiowa, Lincoln and Pueblo counties joined numerous other counties, which were declared earlier this year, in qualifying for assistance from the USDA. Adjoining counties in Colorado, as well as in neighboring states, also qualify for disaster assistance.
In all, 24 of Colorado's 66 counties have been designated as a primary natural disaster area. Another 18 counties adjoin the designated counties. (Story continues below.)
Note: counties shaded red have received a primary natural disaster designation; counties shaded yellow adjoin a primary county (primary county may be in a neighboring state). Counties shaded grey do not have a USDA designation. San Juan county is shaded blue to indicate and SBA-only primary designation.
Qualified producers in the designated areas and adjoining counties can apply for emergency loans through the Farm Service Agency. Those who are eligible have eight months from the date of a declaration to apply for loans to cover part of their losses. Declaration dates for the latest counties range from May 3 to May 16. Farmers and ranchers can contact their local USDA service center for additional information about the application process, or check http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
USDA Farm Service Agency offices consider the extent of losses and other factors when evaluating loan applications. FSA may also be able to provide other assistance programs, such as operating and farm ownership loans and emergency assistance for livestock.