Thursday, May 13, 2021

Drought Monitor: "USDA approves drought counties for emergency loans"

We'll be back with the drought maps from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln but first from Successful Farming:

In a two-day burst, the USDA designated 372 counties, roughly one of every seven counties in the country, from Texas and Kansas to California and Hawaii, as natural disaster areas due to persistent drought. At the same time, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded California’s drought emergency to 41 counties, including parts of the agricultural Central Valley.

More than 46% of the country, mostly in the West, is in drought – an unusually large portion, according to USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey. “There have been only four times in the history of the Drought Monitor that we have seen more than 40% U.S. drought coverage as we come into early May,” Rippey told Iowa radio station KMA.

The natural disaster designations make farmers and ranchers eligible for USDA emergency loans, for needs such as replacement of equipment and livestock or financial reorganization. Almost every county in Arizona, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming was declared a primary disaster area by USDA. Counties in six other states also were declared primary disaster areas. Producers in adjoining counties also are eligible.

To qualify for an emergency loan, producers generally must suffer crop losses of at least 30% or a loss of livestock or other property, according to a USDA fact sheet. Borrowers usually are required to buy crop insurance. The maximum loan is $500,000....