Agricultural disaster declaration declared for most of Oklahoma

The U.S. Agriculture Department issued a disaster declaration Wednesday for 74 of Oklahoma's 77 counties. The declaration makes farmers in those counties who are adversely affected by drought and wildfires eligible to apply for federal aid.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: July 28, 2011

The U.S. Agriculture Department issued a disaster declaration Wednesday for most of Oklahoma's counties, where farmers are reeling from wildfires and the ongoing drought.

The declaration covers 74 of the state's 77 counties. Nowata, Craig and Ottawa counties in far northeastern Oklahoma are not covered.

It is in response to a June 10 request by Gov. Mary Fallin, who asked the federal agency to issue a disaster declaration in order to help farmers who are adversely affected by drought and wildfires.

The governor had asked that all 77 counties be covered in a disaster declaration. The Agriculture Department replied that it was “unable to make a complete and accurate determination of production losses” for counties not included under the declaration, according to the governor's office. It said “a decision … will be deferred until the loss information becomes available” regarding the three counties not included.

The Agriculture Department's disaster designation makes farmers in approved counties eligible to be considered for federal assistance from the Farm Service Agency. Such assistance would include Farm Service Agency emergency loans and eligibility in the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program.

Farmers in designated counties have eight months to apply for emergency loan assistance. Farmers interested in requesting additional information should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.

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