The USDA Jan. 9 designated four Arizona counties as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought.

The counties include Apache, Maricopa, Navajo, and Pinal.

Farmers and ranchers in other counties in Arizona also qualify for natural disaster assistance since the counties are contiguous including Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Yavapai, and Yuma.

The disaster declaration means all qualified farm operators in the designated areas are eligible for low interest emergency from USDA 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 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 information is available online at