WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján, and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that 27 counties in New Mexico will qualify for emergency loan assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) due to losses caused by the ongoing drought. A full list of counties is included below.
The designation makes producers, farmers and ranchers in these counties eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans, provided eligibility requirements are met. Funds are available for up to a maximum of $500,000 and may be used to restore or replace essential property; pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year; pay essential family living expenses; reorganize the farming operation; and refinance certain debts.
The counties were declared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as "primary natural disaster areas" after suffering from droughts of severe, extreme and exceptional intensity during the growing season for eight or more consecutive weeks; or as "contiguous counties" because of they were nearby and considered to face similar circumstances.
"New Mexico farmers and ranchers continue to face great challenges due to the prolonged drought and I am glad the USDA continues to recognize the need for federal disaster assistance in our affected counties," Udall said. "We need to do all we can to support farm operators, especially in rural communities, who continue to be devastated by consecutive years of drought. Assistance like the FSA's emergency loan program is one important way we can do this. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I'm proud to fight for the emergency assistance for farmers and ranchers, along with many other resources for our agricultural community."
“Farmers and ranchers help drive the economy and have shaped our state’s history, as many growers in New Mexico come from families that have cultivated land for generations," Heinrich said. "These disaster declarations are a good first step to ensure they receive the necessary federal resources they need to recover from last year’s natural disasters.”
“Agriculture is a vital part of New Mexico’s economy, and this year’s drought has imposed enormous hardships on our farmers and ranchers,” Pearce said. “Today’s announcement was the right decision, and will provide much-needed relief. I look forward to continuing to work closely with farmers and ranchers across southern New Mexico to make sure that they receive the support and resources they need.”
“Severe drought conditions across New Mexico are leaving farmers and ranchers throughout the state struggling, impacting their livelihoods as well as our economy,” Luján said. “The disaster declaration by the Secretary of Agriculture will make important resources available to help farmers make ends meet during this difficult time. It is also vital that Congress completes work on a new farm bill that takes steps to help farmers and ranchers better endure severe drought conditions.”
“As years of severe drought continue to inflict harm on New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers as well as our economy, it is important that we employ every tool possible to support those who are struggling due to factors completely outside of their control,” Lujan Grisham said. “This federal disaster declaration will allow our state’s farm operators to get the assistance they need. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I will continue working to pass a farm bill that includes crucial programs to support farmers and ranchers suffering from drought and natural disasters.”
Through the FSA emergency loan program, farm operators can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses. To qualify, they must have suffered at least a 30 percent loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate or chattel property.
Farm operators have eight months following the date of the disaster declaration to apply and are encouraged to do so through their local Farm Service Agency office. For a list of offices by county in New Mexico, click here or call 505-761-4900
More information about the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Emergency Loan Program's can be found here.
The counties in New Mexico now eligible for assistance through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Emergency Loan Program are: