USDA has designated 42 of California's 58 counties as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought from Jan. 1, 2014 to the present.
The counties in alphabetical order include: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Orange, Plumas, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, and Yolo.
Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in California also qualify for natural disaster assistance since the counties are contiguous with the primary disaster counties.
These include: Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sutter, and Yuba counties.
The sole California county not included in the USDA declaration is Imperial County.
Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon also qualify for natural disaster assistance since their counties are contiguous: La Paz and Mohave (Arizona): Clark, Douglas, Esmeralda, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, and Washoe (Nevada): and Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lake counties (Oregon).
All counties listed above were declared natural disaster areas on Sept. 17, 2014, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provided eligibility requirements are met.
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.
Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, The Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program.
Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.