Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman has named 16 Oklahoma counties as eligible for United States Department of Agriculture emergency farm loans because of losses caused by drought, excessive heat, and high winds. Glickman met with Governor Frank Keating recently to discuss the impact of the drought on Oklahoma's farmers and other agriculture issues.

This region of the country is especially hard hit by a record period of hot, dry weather, Glickman said. These fields cannot yield nearly what they would normally produce. These loans can help some farmers survive to plant another year, when hopefully the weather will improve.

Carter, Comanche, Cotton, Jefferson, Love, Marshall, and Tillman counties were named as primary disaster areas August 29. Also eligible, because they are contiguous, are Bryan, Caddo, Garvin, Grady, Jackson, Johnston, Kiowa, Murray, and Stephens counties in Oklahoma and Clay, Cooke, Grayson, Montague, Wichita, and Wilbarger counties in Texas.

Glickman's designation makes all qualified family-sized farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency. 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.

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