USDA Designates Nearly All Of California For Drought Disaster Assistance

USDA has designated 53 of California’s 58 counties as natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by extreme drought.

Agricultural operators in all counties designated as natural disaster areas may qualify for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). The agency will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. The maximum amount for an EM loan is $500,000.

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in California also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are: Del Norte, Riverside, San Diego and San Francisco, which is basically all urban. Ironically, the only county’s growers not eligible are those in Imperial County, which is located in the desert along the Mexican border. They get most of their water from the Colorado River, which has headwaters in Montana.

“Just about everyone in California agriculture has been hit hard by drought this year,” said Val Dolcini, Farm Service Agency State Executive Director. “California’s diverse farmers and ranchers have experienced drought conditions and water shortages in nearly every corner of the state and may find help at FSA offices.”

Farmers and ranchers in designated counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for the EM loan to help cover part of their actual losses. To verify the deadline for application in your area, contact your county’s Farm Service Agency Office. You can visit to get the location of all FSA offices in any state.

The Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Conservation Program may also help restore conversation-related farm property and facilities. And the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program is available for producers who have enrolled in this annual protection program prior to the deadline earlier this year. For further information, contact your local USDA Service Center regarding all program eligibility requirements and application procedures. Additional information is also available online at

Source: USDA Farm Service Agency