WASHINGTON  — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 25 counties in Kansas as primary natural disaster areas due to losses of wheat and forage crops caused by drought, excessive heat and high winds that occurred from Jan. 1, 2011, and continuing. Those counties are:


“Assistance at this point and time is critically important for Kansas producers, especially in helping them keep their farmland healthy for the remainder of the year,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I realize that during this time of disaster, federal assistance will be needed until conditions improve as farmers strive to recover their losses.”


Barber                Cowley               Gray                   Lincoln               Russell


Barton                Edwards             Harper                Norton                Sedgwick


Butler                 Ellis                    Harvey               Phillips               Stafford


Clark                  Ford                   Hodgeman         Reno                   Sumner


Comanche          Graham              Kingman            Rice                    Trego


Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Kansas also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous:


 Chase                                      Haskell                                    Ottawa


Chautauqua                             Kiowa                                     Pawnee


Decatur                                   Marion                                     Pratt


Elk                                           McPherson                              Rooks


Ellsworth                                 Meade                                     Rush


Finney                                     Mitchell                                   Saline


Gove                                       Ness                                        Smith


Greenwood                             Osborne                                   Smith


Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Nebraska and Oklahoma also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous: 


Nebraska


Franklin, Furnas and Harlan



Oklahoma


Alfalfa, Beaver, Grant, Harper, Kay, Osage and Woods


All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas June 23, 2011, 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. 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.


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. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.