The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a federal disaster area in 82 Kansas counties struck hard by the drought.
The announcement makes farmers and ranchers eligible for emergency Farm Service Agency loans. The current loan interest rate is 2.25 percent.
The USDA has also lowered the rental payment reduction when landowners use Conservation Reserve Program acres for emergency grazing and haying from 25 percent to 10 percent in 2012.
“Farmers and ranchers are at the mercy of Mother Nature and many of our Kansas producers are struggling right now from the ongoing extreme heat and lack of moisture,” said Gov. Sam Brownback. “We welcome these commonsense updates from USDA and will continue working to make sure farmers and ranchers have access to the resources they need to cope with crop losses and impacts on livestock.”
The primary counties in the declaration are: Allen, Anderson, Barber, Barton, Bourbon, Butler, Chautquaua, Cheyenne, Clark, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Decatur, Edwards, Elk, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearney, Kingman, Kiowa, Labette, Lane, Linn, Logan, Lyon, McPherson, Meade, Montgomery, Morton, Neosho, Ness, Norton, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Reno, Rice, Rooks, Scott, Sedgwick, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson
Contiguous counties include: Chase, Cherokee, Dickinson, Ellis, Ellsworth, Franklin, Marion, Morris, Miami, Osage, Osborne, Rush, Russell, Saline, Smith and Wabaunsee