The US Department of Agriculture says the growing season drought has made farmers in most of Texas, all of Louisiana and parts of Arkansas and Mississippi eligible to apply for federal assistance.
The ministry’s Farm Service Agency says low-interest emergency loans can be used to meet a variety of recovery needs, including replacing equipment or livestock. They can also be used to reorganize a farm or refinance certain debts.
The agency will take into account the extent of the losses, the security available and the ability to repay.
The agency says 60 Louisiana parishes are major drought-hit areas, and the other four — Orleans, St. Tammany, Vernon and Washington — are adjacent to those parishes.
The USDA declares drought disasters if a county experiences extreme or exceptional drought, or has experienced at least eight consecutive weeks of severe drought.
In Texas, 216 of the state’s 254 counties are major drought-affected areas and another 20 border those counties, FSA state outreach coordinator Joshua Coleman said Friday.
Twenty-three counties in Mississippi and 20 in Arkansas are major disaster areas, with farmers and ranchers able to apply for loans in another 13 counties in Mississippi and 11 in Arkansas, according to news releases.
Application deadlines vary depending on when a county was declared an agricultural disaster area. These and other details are available on the Farm Service Agency’s website, fsa.usda.gov.