Governor Brian Sandoval was recently notified by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack that 12 Nevada counties have been declared as natural disaster areas due to drought intensity (severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor) during the growing season for eight or more consecutive weeks.

The counties named were Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Esmeralda, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Pershing, Washoe and Carson City. The remaining five Nevada counties, Elko, Eureka, Lincoln, Story and White Pine, as well as neighboring counties in Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon and Utah, have been named as contiguous disaster counties.

A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Assistance includes FSA emergency loans, and farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration (Feb. 17, 2016) to apply for emergency loans.

FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator.

The latest list of counties, map and information on USDA’s disaster assistance program can be found at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov. For local assistance, contact the Nevada State FSA office at (775) 857-8500.