WASHINGTON – As a result of major losses caused by drought, high winds, excessive heat and wildfires that began this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona as a primary natural disaster area.
“Assistance is critically important for producers on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, especially in helping them keep their farmland healthy for the remainder of the year,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement accompanying announcement of the action. “President Obama and I realize that during this time of disaster, federal assistance will be needed until conditions improve as farmers strive to recover their losses.”
Farmers and ranchers in Apache, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Navajo, and Pinal counties in Arizona also qualify for natural disaster assistance. They are contiguous counties.
According to a press release from the USDA, the counties were designated natural disaster areas July 20, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.
“Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses,” according to the release. “FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.”