On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated nearly half of Nebraska as agricultural disaster areas.
Forty-seven counties are on the USDA list, making farm operators eligible for emergency loans.
The declaration covers the primary counties (in alphabetical order) of Antelope, Arthur, Banner, Blaine, Box Butte, Brown, Buffalo, Cedar, Chase, Cherry, Cheyenne, Dawes, Dawson, Deuel, Dixon, Franklin, Garden, Garfield, Gosper, Grant, Hall, Harlan, Holt, Hooker, Kearney, Keith, Keya Paha, Kimball, Knox, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, McPherson, Madison, Morrill, Perkins, Phelps, Pierce, Platte, Rock, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Sioux, Stanton, Thomas, Wayne and Wheeler.
These counties have suffered severe and/or extreme drought during the growing season, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
Emergency loans are also available to ag producers in the contiguous counties of Adams, Boone, Boyd, Butler, Clay, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dakota, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Greeley, Hamilton, Hayes, Howard, Merrick, Nance, Polk, Sherman, Thurston, Valley and Webster.
Some counties in Nebraska have also been designated as contiguous counties under disaster designations in South Dakota (Boyd, Cedar, Cherry, Dakota, Dawes, Dixon, Keya Paha, Know, Sheridan and Sioux) and Wyoming (Banner, Scotts Bluff and Sioux), Vilsack said.
Farmers in eligible counties have up to 8 months to apply for emergency loans. Vilsack said each application will be evaluated on its own merits, based on the extent of losses, security and repayment ability.