Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman has declared 10 Texas counties disaster areas due to losses caused by drought that occurred from March 1, 1998 and continuing.

Falls, Fisher, Hays, Johnson, Lee, Menard, Morris, Shackelford, Upshur and Williamson Counties were named primary disaster areas on April 4, 2000. Also named, because they are contiguous, are Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Cornal, Ellis, Fayette, Gregg, Guadalupe, Hood, Jones, Kimble, Mitchell, Parker, Scurry, Smith, Somervell, Sutton, Tarrant, Travis and Washington Counties.

All other contiguous disasters already have been designated or named for the same disaster.

This designation makes all family-sized farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of this declaration to apply for the loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available, repayment ability and other eligibility requirements.

FSA has a variety of programs available, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity. Interested farmers may contact their local FSA offices for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures.

Additional information is also available online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/disaster/assistance1.htm.

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