Drought Prompts Disaster Declaration for Most of Nevada

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - The U.S. Agriculture Department has declared most of Nevada a natural disaster area due to lingering drought.

And state water officials say more trouble is brewing for ranchers and farmers in western Nevada where cutbacks have been ordered in irrigation supplies for their crops.

The USDA announced the designation of primary disaster areas Thursday in Carson City, Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Esmeralda, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Pershing and Washoe counties.

Farmers and ranchers there will be eligible for low-interest emergency loans. So will those in the neighboring counties of Elko, Eureka, Lincoln, Storey and White Pine.

Earlier this week the state water engineer ordered a 50 percent reduction in the amount of groundwater that can be pumped for crops in the Smith and Mason valleys north and east of Yerington.