WASHINGTON, July 1, 2005 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated counties in Texas as primary agricultural disaster areas.

In Texas, Crosby County was designated as a primary disaster area due to losses caused by excessive rain, flash flooding, flooding, hail, high winds, lightning, and tornadoes that occurred from May 12, 2005, through May 13, 2005.

Also eligible because they are contiguous include:

Dickens

Garza

Kent

Lynn

Floyd

Hale

Lubbock

Motley

These counties were designated on June 21, 2005, making all qualified farm operators eligible for low-interest emergency (EM) loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. 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 USDA 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.