Updated natural disaster area declarations for Nebraska and Colorado and Kansas contiguous counties

We’ve previously discussed the meaning of a USDA disaster area declaration.  Briefly, a disaster area designation permits producers to access certain USDA programs, such as low interest emergency loans.  Producers have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for assistance.  Also note that counties contiguous to the counties named as disaster areas qualify for disaster assistance.

On May 28, 2014, the USDA designated 18 Nebraska counties as primary disaster areas due to drought conditions.  The primary disaster counties are:

Arthur Garden Loup
Blaine Garfield McPherson
Custer Gosper Phelps
Dawson Grant Sherman
Deuel Hooker Thomas
Furnas Logan Valley

As a result, 19 other Nebraska counties contiguous counties.  The contiguous counties are:

Brown Harlan Morrill
Buffalo Holt Perkins
Cherry Howard Red Willow
Cheyenne Kearney Rock
Franklin Keith Sheridan
Frontier Lincoln Wheeler

Also note that Sedgwick County in Colorado and Decatur and Norton counties in Kansas are also contiguous counties and therefore eligible for assistance.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us.

Significance of USDA natural disaster area designation

As of this writing, there are several Nebraska counties with a USDA natural disaster area designation.  Some are primary natural disaster areas, while others are counties which are contiguous to a primary natural disaster area.  A current listing of the Nebraska counties designated as a natural disaster area are below but first, what does designation as a USDA natural disaster area mean?

Producers may become eligible for a wide variety of programs.  As of the date of the disaster declaration, all qualified farm operators are eligible for low interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency, assuming other eligibility requirements are met.  The farm operator has eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply to help cover actual losses.  Each emergency loan application is considered on its own merits; there is no guarantee of receiving funds.

Other programs that may be of use are the Emergency Conservation Program, crop insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.  The Small Business Administration also administers disaster assistance loans.

In Nebraska, the following counties are currently USDA disaster areas:

Arthur (drought)
Chase (drought)
Custer (drought)
Dawson (drought)
Deuel (drought)
Dundy (drought)
Frontier (drought)
Furnas (drought)
Garden (drought)
Gosper (drought)
Hayes (drought)
Hitchcock (drought)
Keith (drought)
Lincoln (drought)
Logan (drought)
McPherson (drought)
Perkins (drought)
Red Willow (drought)

If you live in one of these counties and need help navigating your options, feel free to contact us and we’re happy to help!