Louisiana farmers in 36 parishes may be eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) low-interest emergency loans due to losses caused by drought that began March 23, 2010, and continues.

“I commend (Agriculture) Secretary (Tom) Vilsack for acting quickly,” saidLouisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain. “Louisiana’s agricultural sector has endured catastrophic hurricanes, flooding and drought all within five years. Our farmers and ranchers welcome anything that will aid in their economic recovery.”

Under the declaration 36 parishes were declared primary natural disaster areas and six parishes were declared contiguous. The designation makes farmers in both primary and contiguous parishes eligible for consideration for disaster aid from the FSA.

Louisiana parishes included in the disaster declarationare: Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Carroll, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Tensas, Union, Vermilion, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll and Winn.

The six contiguous parishes are: Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, St. Landry and West Feliciana.

This designation also provides assistance under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, provided eligibility requirements are met.

Farmers and ranchers in eligible parishes have eight months from the disaster declaration date to apply for the loans.For additional information, visit disaster.fsa.usda.gov.