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RBC I Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 38 Colorado counties — including Rio Blanco County — suffering from severe losses due to drought as natural disaster areas.
The designations mean that farmers and ranchers in these counties are eligible for additional Farm Service Agency assistance.
Fourteen counties were declared primary natural disaster areas, while 24 counties were designated as contiguous disaster counties.
“Hot and dry conditions continue to take their toll on farmers and ranchers throughout the state,” Bennet said. “These disaster declarations will provide critical assistance to producers as they deal with the damaging effects on crops and livestock. It also further demonstrates the need to get the Farm Bill passed and signed into law. Our rural communities need certainty to help them plan for the future and to navigate weather disasters like these severe drought conditions.”
Producers in the following counties are eligible for assistance: Adams, Alamosa, Arapahaoe, Archuleta, Boulder, Broomfield, Chaffee, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Delta, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Mineral, Moffatt, Montrose, Ouray, Park, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache, San Miguel and Teller.
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.