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Lincoln, Lawrence included in drought disaster declaration

Agriculture producers in half of Mississippi’s 82 counties, including Lincoln, have been made eligible to apply for certain U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance due to recent drought conditions.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in two separate actions, has designated 14 Mississippi counties as primary natural disaster areas as a result of drought conditions.  Another 27 counties are named as contiguous disaster counties.

“The drought conditions that replaced the heavy rains and flooding that troubled Mississippi agriculture producers this spring are affecting large portions of our state.  Monitoring these conditions is important for their impact on farmers and our state’s economy,” said Sen. Thad Cochran, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  “I’m pleased the Agriculture Secretary has used his authority to make assistance available by designating natural disaster conditions in parts of Mississippi.”

The secretarial disaster designation in the 41 primary and contiguous counties makes eligible farm operators with extensive drought-related losses in those counties eligible to apply for assistance from the Farm Services Agency.  Available assistance was most recently spelled out in the 2014 farm bill, which Cochran helped write as then-ranking member of the Agriculture Committee.

Local FSA offices associated with designated counties can provide farmers with information about applying for emergency loan aid.  Applications must be made within eight months.

Primary counties included in the drought disaster designation include:  Attala, Carroll, Claiborne, Copiah, Holmes, Lawrence, Leflore, Lincoln, Sunflower and Washington (designated Oct. 14), and Leake, Scott, Simpson, and Smith (designated Sept. 30).

Contiguous counties include:  Amite, Bolivar, Choctaw, Coahoma, Franklin, Grenada, Hinds, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Neshoba, Pike, Rankin, Sharkey, Tallahatchie, Walthall, Warren, Winston and Yazoo (designated Oct. 14), as well as Covington, Jasper, Jones,  and Newton (designated Sept. 30).