Federal officials are offering emergency loans after declaring eastern New Mexico a disaster area due to extreme drought conditions.
Curry, Quay and Roosevelt counties are among 19 in New Mexico designated as a primary natural disaster areas Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
According to drought data from the USDA, Quay, Curry, Roosevelt and much of eastern New Mexico has been listed in D3 (drought extreme) conditions since Nov. 20, 2012.
Under a new USDA initiative, severe drought disasters are declared when any portion of a county meets the D2 (Drought-Severe) intensity for eight or more consecutive weeks or D3 (Drought-Extreme) or higher at any time during the growing season.
Portions of Curry and Roosevelt have been listed as D4 Exceptional.
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján highlighted efforts by the federal government to assist farmers and ranchers who have been negatively impacted by the severe drought in New Mexico and across much of the country.
"Last year was the hottest year ever in the United States, leaving farmers and ranchers across New Mexico struggling in the face of devastating drought conditions. We have also been impacted by a lack of rain and snowfall during the monsoon and winter months," Luján said. "The disaster declarations by the Secretary of Agriculture will make important resources available to help farmers make ends meet during this difficult time."
Lujan said the designation makes all counties in New Mexico's Third Congressional District eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including FSA emergency loans.
Farmers and ranchers in Curry, Roosevelt and Quay County have until Sept. 9 to apply for emergency loan assistance, said Bob Ledingham, FSA farm loan manager in Clovis.
Ledingham said emergency loan funds may be used to:
• Restore or replace essential property
• Pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year
• Pay essential family living expenses
• Reorganize the farming operation
• Refinance certain debts, excluding real estate
Those wanting to apply for the loans can contact the FSA office in Clovis at 575 762 4769 Ext. 2.