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USDA declares 12 Colorado counties disaster areas to drought

Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated six Colorado counties as primary natural disaster areas and six more as contiguous 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 assistance.

The six Colorado counties designated as primary disaster areas include: Dolores, Hinsdale, La Plata, Montezuma, Ouray and San Miguel.

The six Colorado counties designated as contiguous disaster areas include: Archuleta, Gunnison, Mineral, Montrose, Saguache and San Juan.

“Despite some relief earlier this year, right now we’re seeing how quickly our weather can get hot and dry, creating hazardous fire and drought conditions,” Bennet said. “In what could be another difficult growing season, this assistance will help Colorado producers manage tough conditions.”

Producers in counties designated as primary or contiguous disaster areas are eligible to be considered for 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 affected farmers and ranchers with additional information.

This story was posted on June 27, 2013.