USDA approves drought-affected countries for emergency loans

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In a two-day flurry, the USDA has designated 372 counties, or about one in seven counties in the country, from Texas and Kansas to California and Hawaii, as natural disaster areas due to persistent drought. At the same time, Gov. Gavin Newsom has extended the California drought emergency to 41 counties, including parts of the Central Agricultural Valley.

More than 46% of the country, mostly in the west, is in a drought – an unusually large part, according to USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey. “There have only been four times in the history of the Drought Monitor that we have seen more than 40% drought coverage in the United States at the beginning of May,” Rippey said of Iowa. KMA radio.

Natural disaster designations make farmers and ranchers USDA eligible emergency loans, for needs such as replacement of equipment and livestock or financial reorganization. Almost all counties in Arizona, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming have been declared a primary disaster area by the USDA. Counties in six other states were also declared primary disaster areas. Producers from neighboring counties are also eligible.

To qualify for an emergency loan, producers typically must experience crop losses of at least 30 percent or loss of livestock or other property, according to a USDA. fact sheet. Borrowers are generally required to purchase crop insurance. The maximum loan is $ 500,000.

About 30% of California’s population is covered by the Drought Emergency Proclamation, reported the Los Angeles Times. The drought is expected to worsen the fire season, reduce irrigation supplies for farmers and create a risk to fish and wildlife habitat. Southern California was largely excluded from the proclamation.

“With the reality of climate change very clear in California, we are taking urgent action to address severe water supply shortages in northern and central California, while building our water resilience to protect communities. in the decades to come, ”said Newsom, who called on Californians to reduce water use.

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