The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Yuba County in California as a natural disaster area due to losses caused by heavy rains that occurred May 25-27, 2010.

“President Obama and I understand these conditions caused severe damage to the sweet cherry crop and we want to help,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This action will provide help to hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses.”

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in California also qualify for natural disaster assistance because the counties are contiguous: Butte, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, and Sutter.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas Aug. 11, 2010 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.

FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.