Buena Vista County has been designated a disaster area by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman due to drought conditions existing since late last year.
Buena Vista, along with 12 other counties, is now eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency farm loans for crop losses caused by drought that occurred from Dec. 1, 1999, and is continuing, according to the USDA.
Along with Buena Vista, Cherokee, Ida, O'Brien, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties were named as primary disaster areas last week. Also eligible, because they are contiguous to the disaster areas, are Calhoun, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Palo Alto and Pocahontas counties.
"What this designation does is to make B.V. County producers eligible for disaster loans and emergency loans," Rex Wittrock, county FSA director, said.
This designation makes all qualified family-sized farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible for low-interest loans from FSA.
Wittrock said the program is available to producers that have experienced a 30 percent loss or more in crops.
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of this 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, repayment ability and other eligibility requirements.