Rain continues to come in short supply in portions of Nebraska, prompting the federal government to declare eight southwestern counties disaster areas due to the lingering drought.
Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Dan Steinkruger announces Keith, Perkins, Lincoln, Chase, Hayes, Frontier, Hitchcock, and Red Willow have been declared disaster areas.
“It reflects the on-going multi-year drought conditions that we have in that entire region,” Steinkruger tells Nebraska Radio Network.
While much of Nebraska has received sufficient rainfall to official declare an end to the drought, drought conditions enter their third year in southwestern Nebraska.
The dry conditions affect not just grain producers, but also cattle grazing.
Until more rain falls in southwestern Nebraska, the USDA will offer emergency loans to producers.
“I think the question is, going forward, are we going to moderate and maybe decrease that drought area in Nebraska or are we going to continue right on into the summer months,” according to Steinkruger.
The Secretary of Agriculture declared the eight counties disaster areas based on the U.S. Drought Monitor drought intensity value, which registers the area as in extreme drought.
Producers in 10 counties contiguous to the eight in the declaration are eligible for certain disaster assistance.
Producers can contact the local FSA Service Center for more information on what assistance might be available.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]