All Nevada Counties to Get Drought Relief

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Gov. Kenny Guinn's request that all 17 Nevada counties be designated disaster areas due to farmers' losses caused by drought and insect infestations has been granted by federal Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.

Guinn said Tuesday the federal agency made the decision following a review of damage reports provided by Roger Van Valkenburg, state executive director of the Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency.

The designation makes Nevada farmers eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from the FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met.

Guinn said Nevada's farmers and ranchers have suffered a lot in recent years and he hopes they'll be helped by the designation - and also by "a good winter to receive the moisture they need."

The disaster designation followed Nevada's fourth consecutive drought year. Mild temperatures and light precipitation decreased water supplies and increased insect populations, particularly the infestation of Mormon Crickets.

"Some Nevada producers lost their entire crop last year," said state Agriculture Director Don Henderson. "This disaster designation will help Nevada's producers who did suffer a loss to get through these hard times."