Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today designated counties in Kansas, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas and Virginia as primary agricultural disaster areas, making certain farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers in the counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA).

"I'm pleased that USDA can offer assistance to farmers and ranchers who have struggled with severe drought and weather conditions," said Johanns. "These agriculture disaster designations will enable eligible producers to apply for low-interest emergency loans from USDA to help cover their losses."

KANSAS
In Kansas, the following counties were designated as primary disaster areas on Aug. 25, 2005, due to losses caused by severe storms including hail, high winds, lightening, excessive rain, flash flooding and flooding that occurred from June 3, 2005, to June 16, 2005.

Butler Gove Meade Trego
Ford Grant Sedgwick Wabaunsee

Counties eligible because they are contiguous to those listed above include:

Chase Greenwood Lyon Seward
Clark Hamilton Marion Shawnee
Cowley Harvey Morris Sheridan
Edwards Haskell Ness Stanton
Elk Hodgeman Osage Stevens
Ellis Kearny Pottawatomie Sumner
Finney Kingman Reno Thomas
Geary Kiowa Riley Seward
Graham Lane Rooks Shawnee
Gray Logan Scott Sheridan

CALIFORNIA
In California, Sutter County was designated as a primary disaster area on Aug. 25, 2005, due to losses caused by unseasonable rain that occurred from March 8, 2005, to March 19, 2005.

Counties eligible because they are contiguous to those listed above include:

Butte Placer Yolo Butte
Colusa Sacramento Yuba Colusa

MINNESOTA
In Minnesota, the following counties were designated as primary disaster areas on Aug. 25, 2005, due to losses caused by severe storms including excessive rainfall, hail and high winds that occurred May 7, 2005, and continuing.

Aitkin Itasca Pennington Aitkin
Beltrami Kittson Roseau Beltrami
Benton Koochiching Traverse Benton
Clearwater Lake of the Woods Washington Clearwater
Dakota Marshall Wilkin Dakota
Grant Mille Lacs Pennington Grant

Counties eligible because they are contiguous to those listed above include:

Anoka Crow Wing Mahnomen Red Lake
Becker Douglas Morrison Rice
Big Stone Goodhue Otter Tail Sherburne
Carlton Hennepin Pine St. Louis
Cass Hubbard Polk Stearns
Chisago Isanti Pope Stevens
Clay Kanabec Ramsey Red Lake

OREGON
In Oregon, Polk and Yamhill Counties were designated as primary disaster areas on Aug. 31, 2005, due to losses caused by heavy winds, rains and cool temperatures that occurred from March 27, 2005, through April 30, 2005.

Also eligible because they are contiguous include:

Benton Lincoln Marion Washington
Clackamas Linn Tillamook

TEXAS
In Texas, Wilbarger County was designated as a primary disaster area on Aug. 31, 2005, due to losses caused by drought, high winds and excessive temperatures that occurred from March 1, 2005, through July 5, 2005.

Also eligible because they are contiguous include:

Archer Baylor Foard Hardeman

VIRGINIA
In Virginia, Fauquier County was designated as a primary disaster area on Aug. 31, 2005, due to losses caused by drought and high temperatures that occurred from April 1, 2005, through June 30, 2005.

Also eligible because they are contiguous include:

Clarke Loudoun Rappahannock Warren
Culpeper Prince William Stafford

The counties listed above were designated agricultural disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators eligible for emergency loans, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency 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 available, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA has also made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including 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. Additional information is also available online at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.