Aid for drought victims

Producers and ranchers hit by the drought will now be eligible for government loans and other programs. The Agriculture Secretary declared 597 counties across the country and all of the Texas Panhandle as primary disaster areas.ã??

The National Climate Data Center reports last year was not as bad as 2011, which was the driest year in history for Texas.

Beth Batenhorst, District Director of the USDAâ??s Farm Service Agency said, "farmers and ranchers that have suffered over a 30% loss over the crop year or the livestock year can qualify to get loans for up to $500,000 over a 30-year term, depending on what the security for the loan is."ã??

DeDe Jones of the Texas Agrilife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo says crop insurance is also good.

"I know there are some grant programs going on. EQUIP Program is working on some drought grants and that kind of stuff. You know, thatâ??s always good. Ranchers have been able to take advantage of pasture insurance and rainfall insurance for the first time in a long time."ã??

Those who are interested are asked to contact the Farm Service Agency.