Gov. Perry Requests USDA Drought Assistance for 20 Counties
AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry has requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency provide disaster relief assistance for 20 additional counties where farms and ranches have experienced damage due to the effects of drought, including: Anderson, Baylor, Callahan, Cherokee, Cooke, Cottle, Crockett, Dallas, Eastland, Fayette, Henderson, Kaufman, King, Loving, Nueces, Reagan, Rusk, Throckmorton, Upton and Van Zandt counties.
Texas has been suffering from severe and prolonged drought conditions for more than a year, resulting in an estimated $4.1 billion in losses to the agricultural industry.
“Having grown up in a farming and ranching community, I know first hand how devastating a drought can be to individual farmers and ranchers and the agriculture industry statewide,” Perry said. “We want to help get farmers and ranchers the federal assistance they deserve as quickly as possible.”
Perry’s previous requests for USDA assistance for 39 counties are pending approval. These include Bee, Blanco, Bowie, Brooks, Camp, Clay, Cochran, Coleman, Collin, Delta, DeWitt, Franklin, Gaines, Grayson, Gregg, Guadalupe, Haskell, Hood, Irion, Jack, Jim Hogg, Jones, Knox, Lynn, Martin, Montague, Morris, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rains, Smith, Somervell, Titus, Tom Green, Upshur, Wise, Wood and Young counties.
The USDA has already granted Perry’s requests for assistance to 49 drought-stricken counties, including: Armstrong, Bosque, Brewster, Calhoun, Colorado, Dallam, Dimmit, Duval, Fannin, Foard, Frio, Gillespie, Glasscock, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Hopkins, Hunt, Jeff Davis, Jim Wells, Johnson, Karnes, Kenedy, Kinney, Kleberg, LaSalle, Lavaca, Live Oak, Llano, Lubbock, Mason, McLennan, McMullen, Nolan, Oldham, Pecos, Potter, Presidio, Red River, Runnels, San Patricio, Stephens, Taylor, Terrell, Victoria, Wilbarger, Willacy, Wilson and Zavala counties.
When a USDA request is approved, qualified farm operators in designated counties are eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production for physical losses, or a maximum of $500,000. The agency offers additional programs, such as technical assistance, to eligible farmers.
In 2005, Gov. Perry requested a statewide drought declaration to pave the way for federal assistance for all farmers and ranchers who suffered losses due to extremely dry conditions; the USDA approved assistance for 245 Texas counties last year.
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