The 13 primary counties:

  • Lamb County, Texas, is designated as a primary disaster area for severe rain and winds that occurred June 5, 2003, and rain, hail and a tornado that occurred on June 19, 2003, and June 20, 2003. Also eligible are the contiguous counties of Bailey, Castro, Cochran, Hale, Hockley, Lubbock and Parmer.
  • Bailey County, Texas, is designated as a primary disaster area for losses due to rain, hail, winds and lightning that occurred on June 3, 5, 13, 19 and 20, 2003. Also eligible because they are contiguous are the counties of Cochran, Hockley, Lamb and Parmer.
  • Hale County, Texas, is designated as a primary disaster area due to losses caused by flooding, hail and winds that occurred from May 20, 2003, through June 25, 2003. Also eligible are the contiguous counties of Castro, Crosby, Floyd, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock and Swisher.
  • Hall County, Texas, is designated as a primary disaster area due to losses caused by rain, hail, winds and lightening that occurred on June 22, 2003. Also eligible are the contiguous counties of Briscoe, Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Donley and Motley.
  • The nine counties of Calhoun, Coke, Foard, Gillespie, Karnes, Matagorda, Runnels, Sterling and Wharton are designated as primary disaster areas for losses caused by drought that occurred from Jan. 1, 2003, and continuing. Also eligible are the contiguous counties of
  • :
  • Aransas, Concho, Jackson, Mitchell, Atascosa, Cottle, Kendall, Nolan, Austin, De Witt, Kerr, Reagan, Baylor, Fort Bend, Kimble, Refugio, Bee, Glasscock, King, Taylor, Blanco, Goliad, Knox, Tom Green, Brazoria, Gonzales, Live Oak, Victoria, Coleman, Hardeman, Llano, Wilbarger, Colorado, Howard, Mason, Wilson
  • .
"These counties were designated on Nov. 4, 2003,making all qualified farm operators eligible for low-interest emergency (EM) loans from the Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met,” a USDA spokesman said.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for the loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

FSA has a variety of programs available, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA has also made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

Interested farmers may contact their local FSA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com