Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Announces More Kentucky Counties Designated as Drought Disaster Areas by U.S. Agriculture Secretary
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear today announced more Kentucky counties have been classified as drought disaster areas by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
In a letter to the Governor, Sec. Vilsack declared that Breckinridge and Grayson counties are primary disaster areas, because each has suffered drought intensity of either D2 (severe) for at least eight consecutive weeks or D3 (extreme) at any point during the growing season. Both counties were previously designated as contiguous disaster areas.
Seven other counties are named as contiguous disaster areas: Butler, Edmonson, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Meade, and Ohio.
After a similar declaration last month, Kentucky now has 28 counties as primary disaster areas due to drought.
“The drought’s grip on our state is not weakening, and that jeopardizes not only crops and livestock, but the very livelihood of our farm families,” said Gov. Beshear. “We remain in close contact with Agriculture Commissioner James Comer as well as our state and federal partners, particularly the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, as we determine how to best help our farmers who are suffering from the effects of drought. I appreciate Sec. Vilsack’s continued efforts to make sure our hard-working families have the resources they need to endure this historic drought.”
During the 2012 crop year, USDA has designated 1,496 counties across 33 states as disaster areas due to drought.
Last month, Secretary Vilsack announced improvements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster designation process and enhancements to existing disaster-related support for American farmers.
Secretary Vilsack announced the process for Secretarial disaster declarations will be simplified, which will cut the processing time for declarations nearly in half for most counties. He also announced a reduced interest rate for emergency loans; and a smaller payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012 from 25 to 10 percent.
A natural disaster designation makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans. The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to designate disaster counties to make disaster assistance programs available to farmers and ranchers. Regulations for this process have not been substantively revised since 1988.
Kentucky counties which have received a federal disaster declaration are listed below. Several counties have been designated as both primary and contiguous disaster areas.
Primary disaster counties:
Contiguous affected counties: