USDA has designated five Arizona counties primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by ongoing drought and related disasters.

The counties include Apache, Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, and Santa Cruz.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “Arizona producers can continue to count on USDA to provide emergency assistance during difficult times...President Obama and I arecommitted to use the resources at our disposal to reduce the impact of this disaster on Arizona producers and help to get those affected back on their feet.”

Farmers and ranchers in four other Arizona counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance since the counties are contiguous. The counties include Gila, Navajo, Pima, and Pinal.

Farmers and ranchers in the following states and counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance since the counties are contiguous, including Colorado (Montezuma County); New Mexico (Catron, Cibola, Grant, Hidalgo, McKinley, and San Juan counties; and Utah (San Juan County).

All counties listed were designated natural disaster areas Aug. 16, 2011 making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency 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 the actual losses.