Drought Conditions Threatening Crops, Livestock, and Rural Communities
Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 62 of Colorado’s 64 counties as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by drought, excessive heat, and high winds since the beginning of the year. The other two counties have been named contiguous disaster areas.
“The entire state of Colorado has been severely affected by hot and dry conditions that have hampered the production of our agricultural producers,” Bennet said. “The designations from USDA will provide much-needed assistance to farmers to help offset their losses due to drought. Agriculture is a critical part of Colorado’s economy, and these resources will help producers weather a difficult growing season.”
“I am pleased that U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, has granted Governor Hickenlooper’s request to designate eligible counties in Colorado as disaster areas in response to severe drought conditions across our state,” Udall said. “The losses that face Colorado's agriculture producers are mounting and now that this declaration has been made, Colorado's farmers and ranchers will have access to additional resources to get them through these tough times."
Bennet and Udall wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last month asking for federal assistance for Colorado farmers and ranchers, who are facing severe drought conditions that are threatening crops, livestock and rural livelihoods. The senators voiced concerns they have heard from Colorado agricultural producers who are facing severe financial and operational losses.
Producers in counties designated as primary or contiguous disaster areas are eligible to be considered for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for assistance. Local FSA offices can provide farmers and ranchers with additional information.