Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius recently sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman asking that she designate 44 Kansas counties disaster areas so agricultural producers in those counties will become eligible for low-interest loans.
“Ongoing drought and extreme weather events have caused crop production losses significant enough for these counties to be designated disaster areas,” Governor Sebelius said. “Drought continues to plague western Kansas, and severe weather events, including a late-season freeze, have taken their toll on producers across the state.”
Of the 44 counties seeking the disaster designation, 34 claim crop damage due to ongoing drought:
Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Finney, Gove, Graham, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgman, Jewell, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Russell, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Stevens, Trego, Thomas, Wallace, Wichita.
The remaining 10 claim damage due to hail, high winds, tornadoes, excessive rain or flooding in April and May:
Barber, Cloud, Cowley, Decatur, Geary, Gove, Harper, Republic, Scott, Sumner.
The secretarial disaster designations will make qualified farm operators in the designated counties, and counties contiguous to them, eligible for low-interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
Sebelius was notified last week by the state emergency board that the 44 counties were reporting 30 percent losses in production for at least one crop, the key criterion for a disaster designation. The board, which includes representatives from the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Farm Service Agency, K-State Research and Extension, and other state and federal agencies, meets periodically to review county disaster claims and to advise the governor when disaster designations are warranted.
Last year, 86 Kansas counties were designated disaster areas. Three were for hail, high winds, rain and flooding, while the remaining 83 were for drought-related crop damage.
More information about drought in Kansas is available at www.accesskansas.org/kda/droughtinfo.htm.
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