Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today welcomed the announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it has designated 43 of Colorado’s 64 counties as disaster areas due to ongoing severe drought conditions. The designations mean that farmers and ranchers in these counties are eligible for additional Farm Service Agency (FSA) assistance. The FSA administers farm commodity, crop insurance, credit, environmental, conservation, and emergency assistance programs for farmers and ranchers.
“Today’s announcement from USDA is welcome news for many producers in Colorado who continue to struggle from the worst drought in decades,” Bennet said. “But it’s also a reminder that Congress should move quickly to pass a full five-year Farm Bill that makes critical reforms to agricultural and conservation policies and will help producers manage these drought conditions. The temporary extension passed at the end of last year due to the House of Representatives’ inaction is nothing more than a patch. Colorado’s farmers and ranchers need certainty, and they deserve better from their representatives in Congress.”
Producers in counties designated as primary or contiguous disaster areas are eligible to be considered for FSA emergency loans. Colorado counties eligible for assistance include: Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Baca, Bent, Boulder, Broomfield, Chaffee, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Elbert, El Paso, Fremont, Gunnison, Huerfano, Jefferson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lake, Larimer, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Otero, Park, Phillips, Pitkin, Prowers, Pueblo, Saguache, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, Washington, Weld, and Yuma.
Colorado producers seeking assistance should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.
Last year, Bennet traveled across Colorado visiting with farmers and ranchers to see drought conditions firsthand including visits to Harman Brothers Farms in Otis, Hirakata Farms in Rocky Ford and Crowley County Ranch, and Bagwell Ranch in the San Luis Valley.
In July, Bennet spoke on the Senate floor to urge the House to take up and pass a full five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill. He also sent a letter to House leadership, along with Senator Mark Udall, urging passage the bill, which includes vital resources to assist farmers and ranchers suffering from the drought.