Farmers in Wichita area eligible for disaster aid

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has named Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey and Sumner counties, along with 21 others in central Kansas as natural disaster areas.

USDA said the severe drought, excessive heat and high winds have hurt crop production since the beginning of the year.

The counties included are: Barber, Barton, Butler, Clark, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Ellis, Ford, Graham, Gray, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Kingman, Lincoln, Norton, Phillips, Reno, Rice, Russell, Sedgwick, Stafford, Sumner and Trego.

Farmers and ranchers also qualify for assistance in the 24 contiguous counties of Chase, Chautauqua, Decatur, Elk, Ellsworth, Finney, Gove, Greenwood, Haskell, Kiowa, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Ness, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pratt, Rooks, Rush, Saline, Sheridan and Smith.

This is in addition to the 21 western Kansas counties USDA named as disaster areas last month.

"Our farmers and ranchers have had a rough go this year and I'm pleased USDA acted swiftly in designating these counties in Kansas as disaster areas," said Sen. Pat Roberts.

"Secretary Vilsack's latest disaster designation is necessary for Kansas farmers and ranchers in the affected counties," said Sen. Jerry Moran.

These counties are eligible for the emergency loan program administrated by the Farm Service Agency and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program.