USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director James B. Douglass announced that 207 counties in Texas were declared a disaster on Jan. 9, 2013, due to drought and heat using the new, streamlined Secretarial Disaster Designation process. Under this designation, producers with operations in any of the 157 primary disaster counties or 50 contiguous disaster counties are eligible to apply for low interest emergency loans.
The streamlined disaster designation process issues a drought disaster declaration when a county has experienced a drought intensity value of at least a D2 (severe drought) level for eight consecutive weeks based on the U.S. Drought Monitor during the crop year. Under this declaration 157 counties in Texas have reached that threshold since Nov. 1, 2012.
The following 157 counties were designated as primary disaster counties: Andrews, Dallas, Hartley, La Salle, Archer, Dawson, Haskell, Limestone, Armstrong, Deaf Smith, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Bailey, Delta, Hidalgo, Live Oak, Bandera, Denton, Hill, Lubbock, Baylor, De Witt, Hockley, Lynn, Bee, Dickens, Hood, McLennan, Bell, Dimmit, Hopkins, McMullen, Borden, Donley, Hudspeth, Maverick, Bosque, Duval, Hunt, Menard, Bowie, Eastland, Hutchinson, Milam, Briscoe, Edwards, Jack, Mills, Brooks, Ellis, Jeff Davis, Mitchell, Brown, El Paso, Jim Hogg, Montague, Burnet, Erath, Jim Wells, Moore, Callahan, Falls, Johnson, Motley, Cameron, Fannin, Jones, Navarro, Carson, Fisher, Karnes, Nolan, Castro, Floyd, Kaufman, Nueces, Childress, Foard, Kendall, Ochiltree, Clay, Freestone, Kenedy, Oldham, Cochran, Gaines, Kent, Palo Pinto, Collin, Garza, Kerr, Parker, Collingsworth, Gillespie, Kimble, Parmer, Comanche, Goliad, King, Potter, Cooke, Gray, Kinney, Presidio, Coryell, Grayson, Kleberg, Rains, Cottle, Hale, Knox, Randall, Crockett, Hall, Lamar, Real, Crosby, Hamilton, Lamb, Red River, Culberson, Hansford, Lampasas, Refugio, Dallam, Hardeman, Roberts, Robertson, Rockwall, San Patricio, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Sherman, Somervell, Starr, Stephens, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Terry, Throckmorton, Val Verde, Webb, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Willacy, Williamson, Wise, Yoakum, Young and Zapata.
The following 50 counties were designated as contiguous disaster counties: Anderson, Comal, Llano, Sterling, Aransas, Concho, McCulloch, Titus, Atascosa, Crane, Madison, Tom Green, Bastrop, Ector, Martin, Travis, Bexar, Franklin, Mason, Upton, Blanco, Frio, Medina, Uvalde, Brazos, Gonzales, Midland, Van Zandt, Brewster, Henderson, Morris, Victoria, Burleson, Howard, Pecos, Wilson, Calhoun, Irion, Reagan, Winkler, Cass, Lavaca, Reeves, Wood, Coke, Lee, Runnels, Zavala, Coleman and Leon.
"The disaster designation is welcome relief to producers because it allows all qualified operators in primary and contiguous counties to apply for a low interest emergency (EM) loan," said Douglass.
Emergency loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding and other natural disasters or quarantine.
Producers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000. The current emergency loan interest rate is 2.25 percent.
Producers with operations in counties that did not receive a disaster designation could be eligible for emergency loan assistance if they suffered at least a 30 percent loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate or chattel property.
For more information about emergency loans, please contact your local FSA office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.