Gov. Perry Requests USDA Drought Assistance for 24 Counties
AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry has requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency provide disaster relief assistance for 24 counties where farms and ranches have experienced damage due to the effects of drought that have been continuing since the first of the year. Texas has experienced extremely dry conditions since April 2005, resulting in nearly $1.5 billion in losses to the agriculture industry.
The USDA has approved Perry's request for assistance for Armstrong, Bosque, Brewster, Calhoun, Frio, Gillespie, Hamilton, Johnson, McLennan, Oldham, Potter, Runnels, Taylor and Terrell counties. Requests for Dimmit, Duval, Kenedy, Kleberg, La Salle, Live Oak, Mason, McMullen, Nolan and Pecos counties are still pending USDA approval.
"Having grown up in farming and ranching community, I know firsthand how devastating Mother Nature can be to our agriculture industry," Gov. Rick Perry said. "We want to help get farmers and ranchers the federal assistance they deserve as quickly as possible."
If the USDA request is approved, qualified farm operators in designated counties are eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the USDA's Farm Service Agency. Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production for physical losses, or a maximum of $500,000. The agency offers additional programs, such as technical assistance, to eligible farmers.
In 2005, Gov. Perry requested a statewide drought declaration to pave the way for federal assistance for all farmers and ranchers who suffered losses due to extremely dry conditions; the USDA approved assistance for 245 Texas counties last year.