(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman will ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare a natural disaster in all 92 Indiana counties.
A natural disaster declaration makes farmers eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans to offset losses resulting from the drought.
The loans are given through the USDA Farm Services Agency.
Fourteen additional counties were declared natural disaster areas Wednesday, bringing the total number of Indiana counties with eligible farmers to 80.
"So many, including those outside of Indiana, depend on the state's agriculture industry to provide food, fiber and fuel," Skillman said in a news release. "As the drought lingers on, the request to give all farmers the opportunity to apply for assistance becomes even more urgent."
According to USDA policy, counties that have been at a certain level of drought for eight consecutive weeks automatically qualify for disaster designation. This currently applies to 64 Indiana counties.
Counties that border primary natural disaster counties also qualify for assistance. Indiana currently has 16 counties in this category.
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for low-interest loans from the FSA.
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